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ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 



3 1833 00083 7747 



PROCEEDINGS 



MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



Committee of publication. 

ALEXANDER McKENZIE. 
CHARLES C. SMITH. 
EDWARD STANWOOD. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



http://archive.org/details/proceedingsofrnass2v20nriass 



PROCEEDINGS 



assacjjusetis Historical Jfefjx 



Second Series. — Vol. XX, 



1906, 1907. 



ipublisfjrtJ at t\)t Charge of tije ILofoeil jFmtiJ. 




BOSTON: 
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY 

MDCCCCVII. 



SSmtarrsttg press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 



. 



PREFACE. 128372 



This volume comprises a record of twelve meetings 
of the Society, from January, 1906, to March, 1907, 
both inclusive, and forms the twentieth volume of the 
Second Series of the Proceedings. The late Recording 
Secretary, Rev. Dr. Young, was on the Committee for 
publishing the first nineteen volumes, and down to 
the close of the fourth volume the chief labor in their 
preparation and publication rested on him. Rev. Dr. 
McKenzie has been on the Committee for all the vol- 
umes. The late Clement Hugh Hill was on the Com- 
mittee for the first four volumes, and rendered very useful 
service. In consequence of his absence in England, and 
the adoption of an additional By-Law, the undersigned 
took his place in December, 1889, and became the work- 
ins; member of the Committee. On the resignation of 
Dr. Young as Recording Secretary, at the end of 1905, 
Mr. Stanwood, his successor as Secretary, became ex-officio 
a member of the Committee. 

A Consolidated Index to this Series is now in prepara- 
tion by Mr. D. M. Matteson, under the direction of a 
special committee, Messrs. Albert B. Hart and Roger B. 
Merriman, and will be published at an early day. 



VI PREFACE. 

This volume is especially rich in memoirs of deceased 
members, each of which is accompanied by a portrait • 
and there are a large number of hitherto unpublished 
documents of more or less historical or biographical 
interest. Among these the letters of William Duane 
communicated by Mr. Ford, and the slavery documents 
communicated by Mr. Hart, are especially noteworthy. 
Among the original communications the papers by the 
President on the unveiling of the bust of James Savage, 
on the attitude of Great Britain toward the United States 
during the Civil War, on the Centenary of Robert E. 
Lee, and on Longfellow as an Historical Poet ; by Mr. 
Stanwood on the Massachusetts Election in 1806; by 
Mr. Sanborn on St. John de Crevecceur; by Mr. Thomas 
L. Livermore on the Appomattox Campaign ; by Mr. 
Thayer on Longfellow as a National Poet ; and by 
Mr. Everett on the lack of satisfactory biographies of 
the eminent men of the provincial period will also attract 
notice. 

For the Committee, t 

CHARLES C. SMITH. 

Boston, June 27, 1907. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

Preface v 

List of Illustrations xi 

Officers elected April 11, 1907 xiii 

Resident Members xiv 

Honorary and Corresponding Members xvi 

Members Deceased xviii 

JANUARY MEETING, 1906. 

Resignation of Rev. Dr. Young as Recording Secretary . . 1 

Memorial for the Preservation of the Frigate Constitution . . 3 
'Letter by Charles H. Dalton on United States Postage 

Stamps 6 

Paper by Edward Stanwood on The Massachusetts Election 

in 1806 '12 

FEBRUARY MEETING, 1906. 

Tribute by the President to John C. Palfrey 22 

Letter from John Bigelow relative to a Statuette of Franklin 27 

Paper by Franklin B. Sanborn on St. John de Crevecoeur . 32 

MARCH MEETING, 1906. 

Paper by the President on the book-plate of John Adams . . 84 

Paper by Thomas L. Livermore on the Appomattox Campaign 87 
Paper by Charles K. Bolton on McCrady's Opinion of 

General Greene .............. 112 



Vlll CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Memoir of Mellen Chamberlain, by Henry W. Haynes . . 119 

Memoir of Theodore L} T man, by Charles Francis Adams . 147 
Memoir of Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., by Charles Francis 

Adams 178 



ANNUAL MEETING, APRIL, 1906. 

Report of the Council . 201 

Report of the Treasurer 209 

Report of the Auditing Committee 226 

Report of the Librarian 226 

Report of the Cabinet- Keeper 228 

Report of the Committee on the Library and Cabinet . . . 231 

Officers elected 231 

Address by the President on the Unveiling of a Bust of 

James Savage .... '. ......... 232 



MAY MEETING, 1906. 

Paper by Henry G. Pearson on the Emancipation Concert in 

Music Hall, Boston, Jan. 1, 1863 247 

Paper by the President on Williams's " Rise and Fall of 

the Model Republic" 253 

Letters of William Duane, communicated by Worthington C. 

Ford 257 



JUNE MEETING, 1906. 

Tributes to Carl Schurz : — 

By the President 395 

By Charles E. Norton 402 

By Moorfield Storey 403 

By Bliss Perry 407 

Memoir of Stephen Salisbury by Nathaniel Paine . . . 412 



CONTENTS. IX 

OCTOBER MEETING, 1906. 

PAGE 

Announcement of the deaths of Rev. Dr. Young and Rev. Dr. 

Slafter 421 

Tribute to Dr. Young 03- Charles C. Smith ...... 422 

Tribute to Dr. Slafter by Henry W. Haynes 425 

Paper by James Schouler on President Johnson's Papers . . 427 

NOVEMBER MEETING, 1906. 

Paper by Josiah P. Quincy on Cotton Mather and the Super- 
normal in New England History 439 

Paper by the President on Lord Granville and the Attitude 
of Great Britain toward the United States during the Civil 
War 453 

Paper by Daniel H. Chamberlain on A Third Bunker's Hill 

in England 474 

Paper by Daniel H. Chamberlain supplementary to his paper 
on The Historical Conception of the United States Gon- 

' stitution and Union 477 

DECEMBER MEETING, 1906. 

Paper by Andrew McF. Davis on Jackson's degree of LL.D. 

from Harvard College .....490 

Documents relating to Slavery communicated by Albert B. 

Hart 512 

Paper by Thomas Minns on the Detroit Bank 521 

Memoir of James Elliot Cabot by T. W. Higginson .... 526 

JANUARY MEETING, 1907. 

Letters of Thomas Hutchinson communicated by Grenville 

H. Norcross . 535 

Memoir of Charles Sumner by Moorfield Storey .... 538 



CONTENTS. 



FEBRUARY MEETING, 1907. 

PAGE 

Paper by the President on the Centenary of Robert E. Lee . 550 
Paper by Daniel H. Chamberlain on the Stevens Catalogue- 
Index 556 

Paper by Charles H. Hart on Paul Revere's First Ride . . 560 
Paper by William R. Thayer on Longfellow our National 

Poet 564 

Paper by Bliss Perry on Longfellow's Career and Reputation 569 

Paper by the President on Longfellow as an Historical Poet 573 

MARCH MEETING, 1907. 

Remarks by William Everett on the Want of Biographies of 

the Provincial Period 587 

Memoir of Edmund F. Slafter, communicated by William 

Lawrence 591 



List of Donors to the Library 597 

Index 601 






LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE 

Bust of James Savage Frontispiece 

Residence of St. John ue Crevec<eur ....... 20 

Statuette of Benjamin Franklin 27 

Book-Plate of John Adams ........... 84 

Portrait of Mellen Chamberlain 119 

Portrait of Theodore Lyman .......... 147 

Portrait of Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. ....... 178 

Portrait of Stephen Salisbury f e . « . . 412 

Portrait of J. Elliot Cabot ...........526 

Portrait of Charles Sumner . ( . . . 538 

Portrait of Edmund F. Slafter . • . 591 



[xi] 



I 



/ 






hi Wft OFFICERS 

• n - 



MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY, 

Elected April 11, 1907. 



|)re5ibent. 
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS, LL.D , . Lincoln. 

$itc-|3resibenis. 

SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN, LL.D. . . Boston. 

JAMES FORD RHODES, LL.D Boston. 

JRccoibing Stoctarg. 
EDWARD STANWOOD, Litt.D. ........ Brookline. 

(JDorrcsponbing Smetarg. 
HENRY WILLIAMSON HAYNES, A.M Boston. 

treasurer. 
ARTHUR LORD, A.B Plymouth. 

librarian* 
SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN, LL.D. ........ Boston. 

Cabhtet-Jleeper. 
GRENVILLE ROWLAND NORCROSS, LL.B Boston. 

P embers ai |Targe of \\t €ountil 

THOMAS LEONARD LIVERMORE, A.M. . . . Jamaica Plain. 

SAMUEL SAVAGE SHAW, LL.B Boston. 

NATHANIEL PAINE, A.M Worcester. 

EDWARD H. HALL, D.D Cambridge. 

ROGER B. MERRIMAN, Ph.D Cambridge. 

A dditional Member of the Council. 
MELVILLE M. BIGELOW, LL.D Cambridge. 



[xiii] 



RESIDENT MEMBERS, 

AT THE DATE OF THE PRINTING OF THIS BOOK, IN THE ORDER OF 
THEIR ELECTION. 



1860. 
Hon. Samuel Abbott Green, LL.D. 
Charles Eliot Norton, D.C.L. 

1861. 
Rev. Edward Everett Hale, D.D. 

1865. 
Josiah Phillips Quincy, A.M. 

1866. 
Henry Gardner Denny, A.M. 

1867. 
Charles Card Smith, A.M. 

1871. 
Abner Cheney Goodell, A.M. 
Edward Doubleday Harris, Esq. 

1873. 
Hon. Winslow Warren, LL.B. 
Charles William Eliot, LL.D. 

1875. 
Charles Francis Adams, LL.D. 

1876. 
Hon. William Everett, LL.D. 
Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge, LL.D. 

1877. 
John Torrey Morse, Jr., A.B. 

1878. 
Gamaliel Bradford, A.B. 

1879. 
Henry Williamson Haynes, A.M. 

1880. 
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
LL.D. 
[xiv] 



1881. 
Rev. Henry Fitch Jenks, A.M. 
Rev. Alexander McKenzie, D.D. 

1882. 
Arthur Lord, A.B. 
Frederick Ward Putnam, A.M. 
James McKellar Bugbee, Esq. 

1884. 

Hon. John Elliot Sanford, LL.D. 
Edward Channing, Ph.D. 

1886. 
William Watson Goodwin, D.C.L. 
Rev. Alexander Viets Griswold 
Allen, D.D. 

1887. 

Solomon Lincoln, A.M. 
Edwin Pliny Seaver, A.M. 

1889. 

Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D. 
Thornton Kirkland Lothrop, LL.B. 

1890. 
Henry Fitz-Gilbert Waters, A.M. 
Abbott Lawrence Lowell, LL.B. 

1891. 
Hon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, LL.D. 
Henry Pickering Walcott, LL.D. 

1893. 
Hon. Charles Russell Codman, LL.B. 
Barrett Wendell, A.B. 
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D. 



RESIDENT MEMBERS. 



XV 



1894. 
Hon. Edward Francis Johnson,LL.B. 
Rt. Rev. William Lawrence, D.D. 
William Roscoe Thayer, A.M. 

1895. 
Rev. Morton Dexter, A.M. 
Hon. Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, 

LL.D. 
Hon. William Wallace Crapo, LL.D. 

1896. 

Hon. Francis Cabot Lowell, A.B. 
Granville Stanley Hall, LL.D. 
Alexander Agassiz, LL.D. 
Col. Theodore Ayrault Dodge. 

1897. 
Rev. Leverett Wilson Spring, D.D. 
Col. William Roscoe Livermore. 
Hon. Richard Olney, LL.D. 
Lucien Carr, A.M. 

1898. 
Rev. George Angier Gordon, D.D. 
John Chipman Gray, LL.D. 
Rev. James De Normandie, D.D. 
Andrew McFarland Davis, A.M. 

1899. 
Archibald Gary Coolidge, Ph.D. 
John Noble, LL.D. 
Charles Pickering Bowditch, A.M. 
Rev. Edward Henry Hall, D.D. 

1900. 
James Frothingham Hunnewell, 

A.M. 
Melville Madison Bigelow, LL.D. 

1901. 
Thomas Leonard Livermore, A.M. 
Nathaniel Paine, A.M. 
Charles Gross, Ph.D. 
John Osborne Sumner, A.B. 
Arthur Theodore Lyman, A.M. 
Samuel Lothrop Thorndike, A.M. 



1902. 

Edward Henry Strobel, LL.D. 
Henry Lee Higginson, LL.D. 
Brooks Adams, A.B. 
Grenville Howland Norcross, LL.B. 
Edward Hooker Gilbert, A.B. 

1903. 

Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, A.B. 
Charles Knowles Bolton, A.B. 
Samuel Savage Shaw, LL.B. 
Ephraim Emerton, Ph.D. 
Waldo Lincoln, A.B. 
Frederic Jesup Stimson, LL.B. 
Edward Stanwood, Litt.D. 
Moorfield Storey, A.M. 

1904. 

Thomas Minns, Esq. 
Roger Bigelow Merriman, Ph.D. 
Charles Henry Dalton, Esq. 
Charles Homer Haskins, Ph.D. 

1905. 

Hon. John Davis Long, LL.D. 
Don Gleason Hill, A.M. 
Theodore Clarke Smith, Ph.D. 
Henry Greenleaf Pearson, A.B. 
Bliss Perry, L.II.D. 
Hon. John Lathrop, A.M. 

1906. 

Edwin Doak Mead, Esq. 

Edward Henry Clement, Litt.D. 

William Endicott, A.M. 

Lindsay Swift, A.B. 

Hon. George Sheldon. 

Mark Antony De Wolfe Howe, A.M. 

Arnold Augustus Rand, Esq. 

1907. 

Jonathan Smith, A.B. 
Albert Matthews, A.B. 
William Vail Kellen, LL.D. 



HONORARY MEMBERS. 



1871. 
David Masson, LL.D. 

1896. 
Rt. Hon. James Bryce, D.C.L. 

1899. 
Rt. Hon. Sir George Otto Trevelyan, 
Bart., D.C.L. 

1901. 
Pasquale Villari, D.C.L. 



1902. 
Henry Charles Lea, LL.D. 

1904. 
Adolf Harnack, D.D. 
Rt. Hon. John Morley, LL.D. 
Goldwin Smith, D.C.L. 

1905. 
Ernest Lavisse. 

1907. 
Rear- Admiral Alfred Thayer 
Mahan, D.C.L. 



CORRESPONDING MEMBERS. 



1875. 
Hon. John Bigelow, LL.D. 
Hubert Howe Bancroft, A.M. 

1878. 
John Austin Stevens, A.B. 
Joseph Florimond Loubat, LL.D. 
Charles Henry Hart, LL.B. 

1879. 
Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Litt.D. 
John Marshall Brown, A.M. 
Hon. Andrew Dickson White, LL.D. 

1880. 
Sir James McPherson Le Moine 
Henry Adams, LL.D. 
[xvi] 



1883. 
Rev. Charles Richmond Weld, LL.D. 

1887. 
John Andrew Doyle, M.A. 



1896. 

Hon. James Burrill Angell, LL.D. 
William Babcock Weeden, A.M. 

1897. 

Rev. George Park Fisher, D.D. 

Woodrow Wilson, LL.D. 

Hon. Joseph Hodges Choate, D.C.L. 



CORRESPONDING MEMBERS. 



XV11 



1898. 
John Franklin Jameson, LL.D. 

1899. 
Rev. William Cunningham, LL.D, 

1900. 

Hon. Simeon Eben Baldwin, LL.D. 
John Bassett Moore, LL.D. 

1901. 
Daniel Coit Gilman, LL.D. 
Frederic Harrison, M.A. 
Frederic Bancroft, LL.D. 
Charles Harding Firth, LL.D. 
William James Ashley, M.A. 

1902. 

Edward Gaylord Bourne, Ph.D. 
John Bach McMaster, LL.D. 
Albert Venn Dicey, LL.D. 
R&iben Gold Thwaites, LL.D. 
John Christopher Schwab, Ph.D. 
Worthington Chauncey Ford, A.M. 



1903. 
Rev. Arthur Blake Ellis, LL.B. 
Auguste Moireau. 
Hon. Horace Davis, LL.D. 

1904. 
Sidney Lee, Litt.D. 
Frederick Jackson Turner, Ph.D. 
Sir Spencer W'alpole, K.C.B. 

1905. 
William Archibald Dunning, LL.D. 
James Schouler, LL.D. 
George Parker Winship, A.M. 
Gabriel Hanotaux. 
Hubert Hall. 

1906. 
Andrew Cunningham McLaugh- 
lin, A.M. 
Hon. Beekman Wmthrop, LL.B. 

1907. 
Hon. James Phinney Baxter, Litt.D. 
Wilberforce Eames, A.M. 
George Walter Prothero, Litt.D. 
Jean Jules Jusserand, LL.D. 



MEMBERS DECEASED. 



Members who have died, or of whose death information has been received, since the 

last volume of Proceedings was issued, March 10, 1906, arranged in 

the order of their election, and with date of death. 

Resident. 

Rev. Edward James Young, D.D. June 23, 1906. 

Rev. Edmund Far well Slafter, D.D. .... . . Sept. 22, 1906. 

Hon. Daniel Henry Chamberlain, LL.D. . . . . . . April 13, 1907. 

[The Memberships of George Spring Merriam, A.M., and of Thomas Corwin Men- 
denhall, LL.D., were terminated by resignation Nov. 8, 1906.] 

Honorary. 
Hon. Carl Schurz, LL.D. ........... May 14,1906. 

Corresponding. 

Gustave Vapereau . April 18, 1906. 

Rev. Henry Martyn Baird, D.D . Nov: 11, 1906. 

Alexander Brown, D.C.L Aug. 29, 1906. 

Richard Garnett, LL.D. ........... April 13, 1906. 

Frederic William Maitland, LL.D Dec. 19, 1906. 

[The name of Capt. Alfred Thayer Mahan, D.C.L., was transferred from the Corre- 
sponding to the Honorary List Jan. 10, 1907.] 



[xviii] 



PROCEEDINGS 



MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



JANUARY MEETING, 1906. 



THE stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 11th in- 
stant, at three o'clock, p. m. ; the President, Charles 
Francis Adams, LL.D., in the chair. 

In the absence of the Recording Secretary, Mr. Henry W. 
Haynes was chosen Secretary pro tempore. 

The record of the December meeting was read and ap- 
proved ; and the Librarian submitted the list of donors to the 
Library during the month, adding that the volume of fac- 
similes, etc., given by Mr. William A. Courtenay, late a Cor- 
responding Member, had been returned to him at his request 
and in accordance with the advice of the Council. 

The President announced the resignation of the Rev. 
Dr. Edward J. Young as Recording Secretary, on account of 
inability to discharge the duties of the office to his own sat- 
isfaction, and said : — 

I am unwilling to have the resignation of Dr. Young 
acted upon, and his successor chosen, without putting on 
record my sense of the obligation the Society is under to 
Dr. Young for long and faithful service as its Recording Sec- 
retary. First chosen at the April meeting of 1883, he was 
last April chosen for the twenty-third time. He has there- 
fore sat at our meetings by the side of three Presidents, — 
Mr. Winthrop for two years, Dr. Ellis for over nine, and the 
present occupant of this chair for nearly eleven. The Society 
.has, I believe, in the course of its century and fifteen years of 

l 



2 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

existence, enjoyed the services of some twelve or more Re- 
cording Secretaries, and of these, five, Dr. James Freeman, 
Dr. Charles Lowell, Joseph Willard, the late Charles Deane, 
and now Dr. Young, served by successive annual elections 
each for nine years or more ; but the service of Dr. Young 
was longest of all, exceeding that of Secretary Willard (1835- 
1857) by eleven months. For more than a decennium he and 
I at these meetings have sat side by side, — he much more reg- 
ular in attendance than I, for my absences have been frequent 
and long continued ; but during all that period I do not recall 
a single occasion when a Secretary pro tempore had to be 
chosen. Dr. Young has been uniformly present, with his 
record ready for submission. Unassuming, gentle, always 
considerate and courteous, never aggressive, he has been to 
the Society a model Recording Secretary, and his absence 
from his accustomed place will be to all matter of deep regret, 
and to none deeper than to me. 

On motion of Mr. Barrett Wendell, seconded by Mr. Thomas 
Minns, it was unanimously 

Resolved, That, in accepting the resignation of the Rev. 
Edward J. Young, D.D., as Recording Secretary, after more 
than twenty-two years of continuous and faithful service, the 
Society desires to record its grateful sense of the manner in 
which he has so long fulfilled the duties of his office, and its 
regret that he now feels compelled to relinquish them. 

The President then said : 

Having considered the matter of a successor to Mr. Young, 
the Council instructs me to present the name of Mr. Edward 
Stanwood. It is customary at our Annual Meetings to elect 
all officers by ballot. A viva voce choice, on nomination, would 
probably not be open to objection ; but, to comply with form 
and custom, it has been suggested that the Secretary pro tem- 
pore be instructed to cast one ballot for Recording Secretary, 
that ballot bearing the name of Mr. Stanwood. This can, of 
course, only be done by general consent. Should any one 
present express a desire for a ballot, it will be ordered. 

No member requesting a ballot, the Secretary pro tempore 
cast one ballot for Edward Stanwood as Recording Secretary, 
and Mr. Stanwood was declared elected. 



1906.] THE FRIGATE " CONSTITUTION." 3 

The President submitted a memorial to Congress relative 
to the preservation of the frigate " Constitution," which had 
been adopted by the Council in accordance with a vote of the 
Society at its last meeting. The memorial is as follows : — 

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States : — 

The undersigned, the Council of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
acting under its instructions, again memorialize your Honorable Bodies 
in regard to the United States frigate " Constitution," and the dispo- 
sition to be made of that historic vessel. 

A copy of a previous memorial on the same subject, heretofore sub- 
mitted by us under similar conditions, is hereto appended, and to it we 
respectfully call your attention. 

In the annual report of the Secretary of the Navy recently submitted, 
it is, however, stated that the vessel now lying at Charlestown is, 
because of repeated renewals, not the historic " Constitution," or " the 
vessel with which Hull captured the ' Guerriere,' " and that to hold her 
forth as such is a case of " false pretences " ; that, if repaired and put 
in cdmmission, " she would be absolutely useless " ; and, finally, that thus 
to restore her would be " a perfectly unjustifiable waste of public 
money." She should therefore be broken up, or, as an alternative, 
knocked to pieces and sunk as something of no further practical use, — 
what is designated as " a maritime end " being thus, " for purely senti- 
mental reasons," conceded her. 

Your Memorialists do not propose to argue these several points ; we 
confine ourselves to protesting earnestly against them, and, one and all, 
denying them. If the vessel now moored at the Charlestown dock is 
not the historic frigate " Constitution," then the Society for which we 
speak is not the Massachusetts Historical Society ; for it was organized 
six years before the " Constitution " was launched, and the last survivor 
of our original members died sixty-five years ago ; five times has the 
Society changed its habitation ; it has hardly a thing in possession 
which belonged to it in 1792 or in 1812 ; its very name has undergone 
legal alteration. Yet we hold it needless to argue that, through con- 
stant renewal and by unbroken succession, this Society is the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society of 1791, and it is assuredly so regarded. 
We would look upon a denial of our identity as, at least, ill considered. 
It is in no respect otherwise in the case of the " Constitution." 

The assertion, officially made, that the present ship if rebuilt on her 
old lines would, when completed, " be absolutely useless " is scarcely 
less matter of surprise. Her sister frigate of exactly coeval build, the 
" Constellation," has recently been repaired, and is now used as a training 
ship attached to the Naval War College at Newport ; while another 
similar ship, now called the " Severn," but until recently bearing the 



4 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOEICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

ill-omened name of " Chesapeake," is in commission and connected with 
the Naval Academy at Annapolis. Formerly the " Constitution " was 
so attached to the Academy, and a distinguished admiral, still on the 
active list, has recently testified to the " intense interest " she excited 
in him when as a boy he for months lived aboard her. Why, then, it 
is pertinent to ask, should not the single symbolic "fighting frigate" of 
our earlier Navy, around which associations cluster, be restored, put in 
commission and used to replace the " Constellation " or the " Severn," 
formerly the " Chesapeake," to which vessels comparatively little his- 
toric interest, and, in the case of the last, less than no patriotic senti- 
ments attach ? Why should they be repaired and maintained, and the 
" Constitution " utilized as a " target " ? 

If to repair and maintain the " Constitution " would be an " unjustifi- 
able waste " of the public money of the United States, what cau be said 
on behalf of the " Victory," and the outlay she entails on the British 
exchequer? That Nelson's flagship, which so proudly broke the op- 
posing line at Trafalgar seven years before the " Constitution " called 
down the flag of the " Guerriere," should now be towed to sea and prac- 
tised at as a target by modern ironclads would, as a suggestion from the 
Admiralty Board, not only shock the public opinion of Great Britain 
but be resented as an outrage, or at best an unseemly levity. Are 
Americans less susceptible to sentiment, patriotism, and gratitude than 
their cousins across the sea? To-day, a century after Nelson died in 
her cockpit, the "Victory," cherished by Great Britain as one of the 
most precious relics of her sea glories, is annually visited by scores of 
thousands of all nations. So, as the long record of those who flock to 
see her bears witness, the " Constitution" is in no less degree an inspi- 
ration to Americans. They feel towards her as towards a sentient 
being; for, in one short half-hour, in a time of deepest gloom, her 
broadsides elevated the United States from being an unconsidered people 
beyond the sea into respect as a confessed world-power. She then did 
for us more than the " Victory " ever did for England. 

Therefore, in the name and on behalf of the Society we represent, 
we renew the prayer embodied in the accompanying Memorial of 1903. 
We -ask that immediate action be taken to the end that the course pur- 
sued by the British Admiralty as respects the line-of-battle ship " Vic- 
tory " be pursued by the United States Navy Department in the case 
of the frigate '* Constitution." Accordingly, we pray your Honorable 
Bodies that the necessary steps forthwith be taken for preserving the 
"Fighting Frigate" of 1812; that she be repaired and renewed, and 
once more put in commission to be used as a training-ship in connection 
with our Naval Academies ; and that, navigated as such by the students 
of the Academies, she be made in future to visit at suitable seasons 
points along our coast where she may be easily accessible to that large 






1906.] LETTER FROM HON. H. C. LODGE. 5 

and ever-increasing number of American citizens who, retaining a sense 
of affection as well as of deep gratitude to her, feel also a patriotic and 
an abiding interest in the associations she will never cease to recall. 
And your Memorialists will ever pray, etc. 

Charles Francis Adams, President, 
Samuel A. Green, Vice-President, 
James Ford Rhodes, Second Vice-President, 
Edward Stan wood, Recording Secretary, 
Henry W. Haynes, Corresponding Secretary, 
Charles C. Smith, Treasurer, 
Grenville Howland Norcross, Cabinet Keeper, 
James Frothingham Hunnewell, 
' James De Normandie, 

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 
Albert Bushnell Hart, 
Thomas Leonard Livermore, 
Roger Bigelow Merriman, 

Members constituting the Council of the Society. 
Boston, January 11, 1906. 

Mr. Edwin D. Mead was elected a Resident Member. 

Mr. Charles C. Smith said he had received a letter from our 
associate Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge, now in Washington, 
which, at his request, he communicated to the Society. 

United States Senate, Dec. 28, 1905. 
My dear Mr. Smith, — In the last volume of our Proceedings, 
which I received day before yesterday, I have just read Mr. Sanborn's 
valuable paper upon the Reverend Samuel Langdon, President of Har- 
vard College. I have read it with great pleasure and interest, and it is of 
especial interest to me on account of my relationship with the Langdons. 
My great-grandfather on my father's maternal side was John Langdon. 
Together with Henry Knox he was an apprentice with Wharton and 
Bowes, booksellers, in Boston. He then set up in business for himself 
in Cornhill, but at the outbreak of the War of the Revolution gave up 
his business and raised a company which took part in the Rhode Island 
campaign. He also served for three years in the Continental Army, 
coming out with the rank of Captain. He married the daughter of 
Thomas Walley and was a brother of Joanna Langdon, who was the 
mother of Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham. It was this family con- 
nection which led me to notice a slight error in Mr. Sanborn's account 
of the Langdons. He speaks of " Nathaniel Langdon, a Boston inn- 
keeper, in the first half of the eighteenth century " as " the first cousin 
of Mrs. Andrew Eliot, and the second cousin of Dr. Langdon the Pres- 



6 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

ideut of Harvard College." This Nathaniel Langdon was my great- 
grandfather's father. He was an uncle of Mrs. Eliot and the first 
cousin once removed of President Langdon of Harvard. This error is 
entirely trifling, but as the statement in the Proceedings indicated that 
Mr. Sanborn was intending to put his memoir in a more extended form, 
which I sincerely trust he will do, I thought it possible that he might 
like to make this little correction. It is, as I have said, a very great 
pleasure to me that Mr. Sanborn has prepared this careful and excellent 
account of Dr. Langdon, who was not only a scholar and a faithful and 
devoted minister, but a thoroughly patriotic man and an ardent 
Whig. Several of his kindred like my great-grandfather were in the 
War of the Revolution, and the whole family seems to have been zealous 
on the patriotic side. Dr. Eliot's very unjust account of him in connec- 
tion with the resignation of the Presidency of the College has drifted 
down the stream of local history, producing a wholly false impression 
upon those who read that history in regard to a man who took charge 
of the College at a great personal sacrifice and whose character and 
abilities were really beyond reproach. To those who claim kinship with 
him it is most gratifying to have him so thoroughly and fully vindicated 
as has been done in Mr. Sanborn's paper. It was Dr. Langdon who 
made the prayer before the troops when they were drawn up on Cam- 
bridge Common on the evening of June 16th, just before they started on 
their march to Bunker Hill. I think that Mr. Sanborn has not men- 
tioned this little incident, which has always seemed to me one of the 
most interesting of Dr. Langdon's life. 

Sincerely yours, 

H. C. Lodge. 
Charles C. Smith, Esq. 

Mr. Charles H. D Alton read the following letter which 
he had addressed to the Hon. W. Murray Crane with regard to 
the postage stamps in use by the United States government : 

Boston, January 4, 1906. 
Hon. W. Murray Crane, United States Senate. 

Dear Sir, — In 1903 the Post Office Department retired the two- 
cent stamp bearing the profile head of Washington taken from the Hou- 
don statue, which had been in use for many years, and substituted the 
design of a front face taken from Stuart's portrait. 

The Department presumably approved of the artistic qualities of the 
latter stamp and issued it to the country. It was, however, so gener- 
ally criticised by the public, as giving a senile expression to a noble face, 
that it was withdrawn as soon as new plates could be made. 

The stamps now in use are from the second plate and are only some- 
what less objectionable than those from the first one. 



1906.] UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS. 7 

When the first of these new stamps appeared, I wrote to the depart- 
ment, advising that the plates be condemned and that the former ones 
with the Houdon profile be used, not only for the two-cent stamps but 
for all other denominations, with variations in colors and numerals, with 
the single exception of the one-cent stamp, which should continue to bear 
the profile head of Franklin because he was the founder of the United 
States postal system. 

My letter was referred to the Third Postmaster-General, having 
jurisdiction in the matter, who replied at length (addressing the Post- 
master-General) Saying that a new design was being made which would 
be "simple, dignified, and rich" (the one now in use) and objecting to 
the proposed general use of one head for the following reasons : First, 
because there are so many "noted Americans who are worthy of such 
recognition." Second, because dissimilarity and variety of design facili- 
tate handling by postal employees, both in the selling of stamps and in 
the rapid assorting, rating, and despatch of mail matter ; that the Amer- 
ican method of administration requires more attention than any other 
country, and furthermore that the Stuart front-face portrait was lately 
substituted for the Houdon profile, because the former was best known 
to the ^reat majority of people ; that the portrait was taken from life, 
while the Houdon head was " ideal, not a likeness of a living being, but 
of a bust." 

In respect to these reasons it is submitted that the policy of using 
postage stamps for honoring noted Americans as from time to time the 
Third Assistant Postmaster-General may think to be desirable, is ob- 
jectionable, because the official for the time being is not the proper 
authority to decide as to who is most worthy of such national recogni- 
tion, and the power may be easily misapplied, and, while gratifying to 
some people or sections, may not be to others. 

As to the second reason. It is the policy of many governments to 
use but one head or design on all stamps, often that of the chief of the 
country for the time being, the different denominations being indicated 
by variations in color, numerals, and, when necessary, titles. This cus- 
tom would not have become so general if it were found to conflict with 
the highest standard of administration. 

The trained eye distinguishes the various stamps by color and nu- 
merals rather than by the features of the subject. The American postal 
clerk is no doubt as capable as the foreigu one. 

As to the statement that the United States Post Office requires more 
attention than that of any other country. Since the accession of King 
Edward VII. the British Post Office has issued several hundred new 
stamps, all bearing his profile portrait, for use at home and in depen- 
dencies, differentiated by colors, numerals, and titles. I am told that 
the entire series will number considerably over one thousand. Most of 



8 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

these varieties pass through the London Post Office. There are less 
than twenty United States Stamps in common use. 

The British Post Office also supplies stamps for internal revenue use, 
conducts savings banks, the telegraph and telephone service, a parcel 
post, etc. It cannot therefore be justly claimed that the United States 
Postal Department is more difficult to administer than the British. 

While many other countries change their postal stamps with each suc- 
cessive reign, the United States should have the distinction of never 
changing and of using in perpetuity, as its postal emblem, the heads of 
its two most illustrious citizens. These emblems, coeval with the 
foundation of the government, are equally appropriate for foreign and 
domestic use, illustrating the origin and permanence of the nation. 

It is to the credit of the Republic of Chili to have fixed by law that 
the only design on its postage stamps shall be the head of Columbus. 

In respect to the Houdon head. In 1784 the Virginia Legislature 
decreed a marble statue of Washington to be placed in the Capitol in 
Richmond. Jefferson and Franklin, being then in Paris, were author- 
ized to select the artist. They chose Houdon. 

Jefferson wrote to the Virginia delegation in Congress, " He [Hou- 
don] is the first statuary of his age," and to Washington, " He comes 
now for the purpose of lending the aid of his art to transmit you to pos- 
terity. He is without rivalship in it, being employed in all parts of 
Europe in whatever is capital." 

Washington wrote to Franklin from Mount Vernon, " When it suits 
M. Houdon to come hither, I will accommodate him in the best manner 
I am able and shall endeavor to render his stay as agreeable as I can " ; 
and to Houdon, " It will give me pleasure, Sir, to welcome you to this 
seat of my retirement, and whatever I have or can procure that is neces- 
sary to your purposes or convenient or agreeable to your wishes, you 
must freely command, as inclination to oblige you will be among the 
last things in which I shall be found deficient, either on your arrival or 
during your stay " ; and to Mr. Jefferson, " I shall take great pleasure in 
showing M. Houdon every civility and attention in my power during his 
stay in this country " ; and to Lafayette, " I have now to thank you for 
your favors of the 9th and 14th July, the first by M. Houdon, who 
stayed no more than a fortnight with me, and to whom, for his trouble 
and risk in crossing the seas, although I had no agency in the business, 
I feel myself under personal obligations." 

Jefferson wrote to Washington that he was happy to find that he 
(Washington) approved of the modern dress for the statue, and that it 
was also the sentiment of West, Copley, Trumbull, and Brown, then in 
London. 

Houdon reached Mt. Vernon October 17, 1785. He made studies of 
Washington, took life masks of his face, head, and upper parts of his 



1906.] UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS. 9 

body, minute measurements of his person, and studies of the costume of 
the period which Washington daily wore. He was three years in 
completing his work. Lafayette pronounced the statue " a facsimile of 
Washington's person." 

The head is " ideal " in the sense of being a perfect reproduction of 
the features of the illustrious subject while living, but not in the sense 
of being a work of the imagination. As a work of art it is likely to 
last for the admiration of future generations long after contemporary 
canvas and paint have disappeared. 

Stuart's portrait is recognized as admirable, both as a work of art 
and as a truthful likeness, and is a priceless possession. 

The artist himself generously acknowledged the value of Houdon's 
work. In 1825, referring to the statue, he said to Mr. Longacre, that 
the head was "ideal," and asked Mr. L. to recall its proportions as a 
test of the correctness of his portrait, then before them. It may be 
said that much of the value of a painting is due to its color, which, 
when reproduced in monocolor, is lost. 

The estimate with which a contemporary Congress regarded Hou- 
don's work appears by its action in ordering made and presenting to 
Washington the historic medal in commemoration of the siege and 
evacuation of Boston by the British, March 17, 1776, which was done 
in Paris, bearing a profile head of Washington modelled from Houdon's 
Mt. Vernon cast. " This medal, the only one of Washington ordered 
by Congress, may be considered, both in an historical and artistic point 
of view, the most important of the entire Washington series." 1 

The medal remained in the possession of Washington's descendants 
until 1876, when it was purchased by fifty citizens of Boston and 
presented to the city and is now in the Public Library. 

The first official United States postal stamp was of three cents, issued 
1847, bearing Washington's head from Stuart's painting. It was with- 
drawn 1851, and replaced by the profile head of Houdon's statue. 

Each successive official can, under existing rules, change the stamps 
at his pleasure, and is tempted to do so to distinguish his administration 
or to express his appreciation of his noted countrymen or for other 
reasons. An official decision, as such, as to which is the best or best- 
known portrait of Washington, for example, can have no especial value. 
The engraver of and dealers in stamps are the persons chiefly interested 
in these frequent changes. 

It is respectfully suggested that Congress provide that the Post 
Office Department shall use the profile head of Franklin only, on all 
one cent stamps, envelopes, wrappers, etc., and the profile head of 
Houdon's statue of Washington for all other denominations, differ- 
entiated by colors and numerals ; that the stamps shall be without any 

» 1 Medallic Portraits of Washington, p. 27 : W. S. Baker, 1885. . 

2 



10 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

unnecessary names, dates, or ornamentation, and of a severe simplicity 



iii design. 



The two-cent stamp in use three years since is a good example of 
these qualities, though it might be improved by having the words 
" two cents n in straight instead of in curved lines. 
I remain, Sir, your obedient servant, 

Charles H. Dalton. 

The authority for statements in respect to the Washington 
correspondence and the Houdon statue is a pamphlet entitled 
" Washington : His Person as represented by the Artists, the 
Houdon Statue, its History and Value," by Sherwin McRea, 
1873, published by order of the Virginia Senate, a copy of 
which is in the Public Library. 

Memoranda 

Of the various issues of United States postage stamps from 
1847 to 1904, not including newspaper and periodical stamps, 
stamped envelopes, post cards or pictorial stamps for exposi- 
tions, etc., or stamps not in general use and valuable only to 
collectors and dealers, nor those of changes in color only. 
Contributed by Mr. F. Apthorp Foster, compiled from the 
collection of his father, Mr. Francis C. Foster, of Cambridge, 
— one of the most complete and valuable collections in the 
country. 

Issued in 1847, Washington 1, Franklin 1 .... 2 

" 1851 to 1860 Various 8 

" 1861 " 1869 " 13 

" " 1870 " 1883 " 16 

" " 1890 " 1899 " 24 

" " 1902 " 1904 " 19 

" " 1873 " 1879 (Departmental not now in use) . 82 

Total 164 

It will be observed that the three years, 1902 to 1904, have 
been more prolific of new stamps than any others. 

The 164 different stamps represent twenty-four subjects and 
are distributed as follows : — 

Washington . . 25 

(averaging nearly one every 2£ years) 

Franklin . . . 19 

Jefferson 15 



1906.] UNITED STATES POSTAGE STAMPS. 11 

Jackson 14 

Lincoln . 14 

Clay .11 

Webster 11 

Hamilton 9 

Perry 9 

Scott 8 

Stanton 5 

Garfield 4 

Seward 4 

Grant 3 

Madison, Marshall, Sherman, 2 each 6 

Martha Washington, Monroe, Livingston, Taylor, Har- 
rison, Farragut, and McKinley, 1 each 7 

Total . 164 

Stuart's Portraits of Washington 

" The Athenaeum portraits were ordered for Mrs. Washington. A 
family tradition says they were intended by her as a gift to her eldest 
grand-daughter, Elizabeth Parke Law ; but the artist, it has been 
charged, wishing to retain them, resorted to the subterfuge of never 
quite finishing the backgrounds, while the heads were completed in his 
best manner. Stuart's explanation is given by Mr. Neagle, the artist, 
in these words : — 

'Mrs. Washington called often to see the General's portrait, and was 
desirous to possess the painting. One day she called with her husband, and 
begged to know when she might have it. The General himself never pressed 
it; but on this occasion, as he and his lady were about to retire, he returned 
to Mr. Stuart, and said he saw plainly of what advantage the picture was 
to the painter (who had been constantly employed in copying it ; and 
Stuart said he could not work so well from another) ; he therefore begged 
the artist to retain the p .tinting at his pleasure.' 

" Miss Stuart says that the copies made of the originals were for 
Mount Vernon. 

" There seems to be sufficient evidence that Stuart determined on 
keeping this beautiful head, — his 4 nest-egg,' as he termed it. Mrs. 
Elizabeth Bordley Gibson said that she had often heard the matter dis- 
cussed at Mount Vernon, and that the President called several times at 
the studio, requesting that the picture should be sent home ; but Stuart 
always made the excuse that it was not finished. At last, in a ruffled 
manner, the President curtly said to the artist, 'Well, Mr. Stuart, I 
will not call again for this portrait; when it is finished, send it to me.' 

" Stuart was disappointed in realizing the large price he expected 



12 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

for these portraits. It is said that an English gentleman offered ten 
thousand dollars for them soon after the sitting, which was refused ; 
and, not long before the artist's death, the State of Massachusetts 
wished to purchase them, offering two thousand dollars. They 
remained in possession of his family until October 1831, when they 
were bought from his widow for fifteen hundred dollars by the Wash- 
ington Association of Boston and other subscribers, and presented to 
the Boston Atheiueum. These chef-d'oeuvres have recently been trans- 
ferred for more perfect security, with other paintings of the Athenaeum 
Collection, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston." — Original Portraits 
of Washington by Elizabeth Bryant Johnston^ Boston, 1882, pp. 
84,85. 

January 5, 1906. 
Mr. Charles H. Dalton, 

33 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. 

My dear Sir, — I have read with much interest the monograph on 
postage stamps which you intend to forward to the Honorable W. 
Murray Crane, Senator from Massachusetts, with a view to securing 
legislation which will limit the design on all United States postage 
stamps to a representation of the features of our illustrious countrymen, 
Washington and Franklin. 

Complying with your request that I should express my opinion on 
this subject, I beg to say that, as an official of the Post Office Depart- 
ment, it would not become me to call into question the practice, which 
has so long prevailed at the Department, of changing the design on 
our postage stamps from time to time and commemorating thereby 
some of our other distinguished men ; but speaking in a personal way, 
I have no hesitation in commending the idea for its unity and simplicity. 
Very respectfully yours, 

Geo. A. Hibbard, 

Postmaster. 

Mr. Edward Stanwood read the following paper : — 
The Massachusetts Election in 1806. 

Every free country in the early days of self-government 
passes through a period when political chicanery and electoral 
fraud are practised shamelessly, and if successful are tolerated 
and go unpunished. We need only refer to the parliamentary 
soandals in England during the early part of the last century, 
the enormous and successful frauds in the United States at a 
later period, and what we now see going on in Cuba, to 
illustrate the general truth. Massachusetts has not been free 
from the reproach. Perhaps no better indication of the state 



1906.] THE MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION IN 1806. 13 

of political morality in the Commonwealth a century ago can 
be discovered than is afforded by the State election in 1806. 

At the annual election in April, 1805, Caleb Strong was 
chosen governor and Edward H. Robbins lieutenant-governor. 
They were Federalists. A clear majority of votes was then 
and for a long time afterward required to effect an election. 
Strong's majority was about 4,000. But Jefferson was Presi- 
dent, and the Federalist majority in the State had already 
suffered an important diminution. The manipulation of the 
national offices and the desire to be on the winning side had 
the usual effect. Early in the spring the Democrats — or 
Republicans, as they were indifferently called — made loud 
boasts that they would win the election. At the March 
town meeting in Boston, which was vigorously contested, the 
Federalists were successful by nearly two to one, — not far 
from the ordinary proportion. But it is clear from the expres- 
sions used by the " Columbian Centinel " and particularly from 
the free use of italics and capitals by that paper, that the 
Federalists were really alarmed. 

At a " large and respectable meeting of Federalists from 
different parts of the Commonwealth," Governor Strong and 
Lieutenant-Governor Robbins were nominated for re-election. 
The Democrats nominated James Sullivan for governor and 
William Heath for lieutenant-governor. General Heath had 
been the anti-Federal candidate for the position many years, 
Sullivan for two or three years past. The campaign was a 
hot one. The two parties hurled charges at each other, and 
the same were thrown back with scorn and vituperation. 
The accused persons frequently denounced their accusers by 
name as unprincipled liars. Yet not all the accusations were 
denied. The " Independent Chronicle," the Democratic news- 
paper of Boston, made it a matter of political complaint against 
Governor Strong that in his last Thanksgiving proclamation 
he omitted from the list of causes of thankfulness to Almighty 
God " the great interposition of Heaven in our behalf, in the re- 
lease of our brethren from slavery in Tripoli." The " Centinel" 
admitted that the fact was as stated, but justified the governor 
on the ground that the treaty with the ex- Bashaw of Tripoli, 
which secured the release of the Americans who were stranded 
on the shore of that country and made prisoners of war, was 
" precipitate, impolitic, and disgraceful." Indeed the Federal- 



14 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

ists in Washington had made a party question of the ratifica- 
tion of the treaty, which they strongly opposed. 

Again, it was urged against Strong that on the arrival of 
General Gage, in Boston, early in 1774, he had been one 
of the signers of an address of welcome to the new governor. 
This also was admitted to be true. The address was prepared 
before it was known what manner of man the new governor 
was. But the crushing reply was made that when General 
Gage, in accordance with the provisions of the Boston Port 
Bill, removed the capital of Massachusetts to Salem, another 
address was presented to him there, and among the signers of 
that address were a dozen or more of those who in 1806 were 
leading Democrats of Salem. 

The election took place on the 7th of April. At first it 
seemed certain that the Federalists had elected Strong; but 
owing to the tendency — a tendency, it may be remarked, 
which continues to this day — on the part of many voters to 
neglect to cast a vote for minor officers, there was a doubt if 
Robbins had been re-elected, and a hope or a fear, according 
to one's partisan preferences, that Heath had been chosen 
lieutenant-governor. Returns came in slowly. It was two or 
three weeks before the returns from Massachusetts proper 
were nearly all received, and still longer before all the towns 
in the District of Maine reported. When at last the vote of 
old Massachusetts was complete, it appeared that the majority 
for Strong in that part of the State was 4,223 as compared 
with a Federalist majority of 3,863 in 1805. But the majorities 
in the Maine towns were steadily eating away this majority, 
and the " Centinel" in its issue of April 30 exclaimed petu- 
lantly, "The question now is, Shall the Squatters of Maine 
impose a governor on Massachusetts?" 

The " Chronicle " promptly accused the " Centinel" of hav- 
ing sneered at the people of Maine, as a whole, as "squatters," 
but the "Centinel" made an ineffective disclaimer to the 
effect that it referred to those only who had recently come 
into the State and had not imbibed the principles of Massa- 
chusetts — by which, of course, it meant that they had not 
been members of the community long enough to become 
Federalists. 

The " Centinel's " final figures, based on the official returns, 
were: 



1906.] THE MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION IN 1806. 15 

Whole number of votes for governor 75,313 

Necessary for a choice 37,657 

Caleb Strong 37,833 

James Sullivan . 37,220 

Scattering 260 

The majority claimed (176) was not great, but was suffi- 
cient if these figures could stand. It was admitted that 
Heath was elected lieutenant-governor. The Senate was 
elected at the same time as the governor, but the House 
of Representatives was not. The Maine Senators were most of 
them Democrats, and the count for the whole State stood 
Democrats 20, Federalists 19, and one vacancy in the county 
of York. The other York senators were Democrats, but one 
of the candidates of that party failed of a majority. The 
vacancy was to be filled by joint vote of the General Court. 

Early in the interval between the election and the ascertain- 
ment of the result there were dark whisperings and some open 
assertions that the Democrats would have the governorship. 
"You can't tell who will be governor until after election," was 
a common saying of the time, the point of which was in the 
custom of calling the day of the installation of the governor 
" Election Day." 1 

The Democratic newspapers began to urge those of their 
party in all the towns to send representatives to Boston. 
The constitution of the House of Representatives was very 
different then from what it is now. Every town having 
150 ratable polls, and all towns of whatever population 
incorporated before the formation of the Constitution in 
1780, were entitled to send one representative each, and an 
additional member for each 225 additional polls. Inasmuch 
as the towns paid their representatives in the early days, it 
had become the habit of the poorer towns to refuse to elect a 
member in years when there was no question impending of 
interest to them. Now there was an urgent call by the 

1 To this period also belongs an event which is memorable in the annals of 
this Society. James Sullivan was the first president of the Society and acted in 
that capacity from its foundation in 1791 until 1806. But so strong was partisan 
feeling at that time that his deposition from the position was resolved upon by 
the Federalists, and at the annual election in April Christopher Gore was chosen 
president. According to Sullivan's.biographer, Thomas C. Amory, there were but 
nine members present, " one of whom was afterward expelled." The " Centinel," 
in a two-line paragraph, states that Mr. Gore was unanimously elected. 



16 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

leaders of each party upon all the towns to send members to 
Boston. The Democrats were first in the field and profited 
most by the unusual activity. Boston chose 27 members, all 
on one ticket, and there was no opposition to the Federalists. 
The full House, as it was constituted that year, numbered 481, 
and when the body met for organization Perez Morton, Dem- 
ocrat, was chosen Speaker by 257 votes to 204 for Harrison 
Gray Otis, Federalist, the Speaker in 1805. In the Senate 
one member was absent and there was a tie between Timothy 
Bigelow, the President in 1805, Federalist, and John Bacon, 
Democrat, each of whom had 19 votes. The deadlock was 
not broken until the legislature had chosen a Democrat to fill 
the York vacancy, when Mr. Bacon was elected, and there- 
after throughout the session every party question was decided 
by 20 to 19, in favor of the Jeffersonians. 

In accordance with custom the votes for governor and 
lieutenant-governor were referred to a joint committee to be 
canvassed. Contrary to custom, the committee was constituted 
of five Democrats and two Federalists. On the 5th of June 
an extraordinary report was submitted to the Senate. The 
committee proposed, as was customary, to throw out the votes 
of several towns whose returns were not sealed or not duly 
certified, or otherwise technically informal. But further than 
that it dealt in a remarkable way with the returns of some 
other towns. There were two returns from Troy, — now Fall 
River. One of them, purporting to be signed by the select- 
men and town clerk, returned all the votes of the town, 50 in 
number, for Strong. The other signed by other persons rep- 
resenting themselves as town clerk and selectmen, returned 
all the votes, numbering about 60, for Sullivan. No explana- 
tion of this remarkable circumstance is given, and it would 
probably not be easy to ascertain the truth. But it may be 
conjectured that at the March town meeting rival lists of town 
officers were voted, that each party claimed the election, that 
there were rival elections in April, and that all the Federalists 
voted at one and all the Democrats at the other. However 
that may be, it needs no other evidence than the returns them- 
selves to prove that neither of the two returns could be a true 
statement of the proper vote of Troy. The Federalists on the 
legislative committee urged that an inquiry should be made as 
to who were the town officers of Troy, but this was refused, 



1906.] THE MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION IN 1806. 17 

and without any evidence at all the committee by a party vote 
decided that the Democratic return was the true return of 
Troy. 

The case of New Bedford was still more singular than that 
of Tro}\ The actual majority for Strong in the town was 266. 
The town clerk, after having made up his return, duly signed 
by himself and the selectmen, and sent to Boston, recollected 
that he had made a clerical error. He had entered the Demo- 
cratic votes as having been given for James Sullings. He 
therefore made another return certifying to the same number 
of votes for the several candidates as in the original return, 
but correcting the wrongly spelled name, procured the signa- 
tures of the selectmen, and forwarded that also to Boston. 
The committee professed to be unable to decide which was the 
correct return, and threw them both out. 

In the returns of two towns the name of Governor Strong 
was misspelled. The name of Sullivan was misspelled in the 
returns of thirty-one towns. The ingenuity of the committee 
was equal to making these errors advantageous to the Demo- 
cratic cause. They adopted the arbitrary rule that where the 
spelling conformed to the sound of the name the votes should 
stand, but not otherwise. Consequently they rejected the 
votes for Strong in returns wherein the name was spelled in 
the one case Srong and in the other Stoon or Stron, rejected 
Sullivan votes in two towns in which the name was spelled 
Sulvan, and retained all votes for Sullivan which were 
returned for Sulivan, or Sullivon, or any other incorrect form. 

Having dealt thus with the returns, they made the account 
stand as follows: 

Whole number of votes 73,410 

Necessary for choice 36,706 

Caleb Strong 36,692 

James Sullivan 36,031 

James Sulvan 357 

Scattering 330 

Strong thus was made to lack fourteen votes of an election. 
The committee reported that there was no choice for gov- 
ernor, but that Heath was elected lieutenant-governor by 976 
majority, in a total of 71,807. 

When the report was taken up in the Senate, the Federalists 

3 



18 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

made the most strenuous efforts to procure a reversal of the 
decisions of the committee. Any change whatever would give 
the election to Strong: rejection of the Troy returns, accept- 
ance of either New Bedford return, or any departure from the 
singular rule of the committee with respect to names mis- 
spelled by careless town clerks. Much was made by them of 
the absurdity of entering the name of James Sulvan as one of 
the four " constitutional candidates " from whom the General 
Court was to choose a governor. Every one knew that there 
was no such person. But the Democratic Senators stood firm. 
Not one of them failed to stand by the report, and every 
proposition to amend it was rejected by a vote of 20 to 19. 
After several days of debate it was accepted and sent to the 
House of Representatives. 

The only reason that was given for the decision of the com- 
mittee was that the Federalist committee of the previous year 
had set the example by counting as scattering votes where the 
name of the candidate was misspelled by the town clerk. The 
Federalists thought it made a great difference whether that 
rule was adopted in a case where the result was not affected, 
or in this case where the result of the popular vote was to 
be nullified and the election thrown into the General Court. 
That is a nice question which we are not called upon to decide. 

In the lower branch the effort to amend was renewed. A 
very small number of Democrats broke away from their asso- 
ciates and voted against the barefaced attempt to purloin the 
election. Nevertheless there was in each case a sufficient ma- 
jority against amendments. 

A passage in the newspaper report of the debate in the 
House indicates that in the parliamentary procedure a cen- 
tury ago a motion now obsolete was in use. Mr. King, of 
Bath, " moved that the debate subside," and — so it is re- 
ported — " the motion to subside prevailed." 

But public opinion outside the State House was rising, and 
members began to feel the effect of it. There were many 
self-respecting Democrats who were opposed to the dishonor- 
able political trick that had been plotted. Accordingly, when 
the Federalists discovered a return which should have been 
rejected according to the rules of the committee, and which, 
being rejected, would leave Strong a majority, they welcomed 
the chance to retreat from an untenable position. The re- 



1906.] THE MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION IN 1806. 19 

turn of Lincolnville, in the Maine county of Hancock, did not 
specify the day on which the votes for governor were given. 
It was also showed that the return of Cambridge was not 
sealed in open town meeting. A motion to reject these re- 
turns was carried unanimously, the whole matter was recom- 
mitted, and the state of the vote afterward reported thus : — 

Whole number of votes . 72,784 

Necessary for a choice . . „ 36,393 

Caleb Strong 36,433 

Caleb Strong's majority by this statement was 40, and he 
was declared to be elected. He was installed in office, but 
had a rather unhappy year of it, with a council and both 
branches of the legislature violently against him. 

During the entire contest Sullivan does not appear to have 
taken any part in the matter. Amory intimates, but gives 
no authority for his supposition, that he was opposed to the 
attempt to count him in, and that the weakening of the Demo- 
crats was due to his disinclination to take an office to which 
another had really been chosen. This may well be so. But 
Amory is rather disingenuous in leaving his readers to sup- 
pose that the Democrats took the initiative in securing the 
rejection of the Lincolnville and Cambridge votes, which 
brought about the declaration that Strong was elected. That 
was the work of the Federalists, and the Democrats merely 
acquiesced. 

It is not the least singular feature of this election, although 
it has nothing to do with the legislative contest here nar- 
rated, that General Heath, who had been the Democratic can- 
didate for lieutenant-governor for several years, and had not 
objected to his own candidacy, declined the election, and the 
office remained vacant during the year. In his letter declin- 
ing the office and giving his reasons therefor, he spoke of his 
long public service, and of the dark days of the country which 
he had witnessed. " I now see her," he said, " under a wise 
and patriotic administration of the general government." " We 
ask," snorted the " Centinel," " does he mean to insinuate that 
he has not before seen her under a wise and patriotic 
administration?" 

Such were some of the amenities of politics in the good old 
times under Thomas Jefferson. 



20 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Jan. 

The President said that Mrs. William B. Rogers, a daughter 
of the late Hon. James Savage, had, as the result of a cor- 
respondence carried on during the last six months, given an 
order for a marble bust of her father, a replica of that in the 
possession of the Provident Institution for Savings, of which 
he was one of the principal founders, and that it would be 
put in place in the Dowse Library before the Annual Meeting. 
The President added that this action on the part of Mrs. 
Rogers was to him, personally, peculiarly gratifying. Mr. 
Savage had been President of the Society from 1841 to 1855, 
and Mr. Winthrop from 1855 to 1885. It was obviously 
proper, for reasons unnecessary to dwell upon at this time, that 
busts of the two should occupy corresponding positions of 
prominence in the room in which the Society held its meet- 
ings. He had so represented to Mrs. Rogers, and she had 
most graciously acceded to the suggestion. It afforded him 
much satisfaction to be able to make the announcement. 

Mr. Franklin B. Sanborn presented a photograph of the 
farmhouse and grounds of St. John de Crevecoeur, the "Amer- 
ican Farmer," near Cornwall, on the Hudson, from an aqua- 
relle by himself drawn about 1778. He then read portions 
of a letter lately written to Mr. S. O. Todd, of St. Johns- 
bury, by Madame de Crevecoeur, widow of the "American 
Farmer's " biographer, speaking of his extant and lost papers, 
as follows : — 

M. de Crevecoeur (Robert St. John, the biographer of the 
" American Farmer ") was very proud of the American record of his 
family, and he would have been much pleased at the renewal of the 
popularity of his ancestor, whose sortie from forgetfulness he had 
helped forward. His dearest wish was to see his book appreciated in 
America. 

I much desire that my eldest son should decide himself to visit the 
United States, taking with him the documents that will interest you. 
Unfortunately the manuscripts of the works published by the ''Amer- 
ican Farmer " no longer exist ; they were lost during the French Revo- 
lution. I never heard my husband speak of the designing of the State 
seal of Vermont. All the letters in our possession written in English 
have been translated or read, and I have quite complete notes of their 
contents. Dr. Turner, who gave us the pleasure of his company to 
dinner a few days since, brought us a letter, from Mr. Sanborn, asking 
information about the map drawn by St. John de Crevecoeur (1757-8) 
and presented to King Louis XVI. It is in the archives of national 



IB*?- * 




RESIDENCE OF HECTOR ST. JOHN DE CREVECOEUR 



1906.J REMARKS BY MEMBERS. 21 

maps in the War Department (General Staff). My son will attend to 
it, and will try to have a copy made. 

Permit me to add to this letter a photograph of the Pine Hill Farm, 
made by one of my sons from the painting made by the Farmer, with 
this inscription : " Plantation of Pine Hill, the first tree of which was 
cut down a. d. 1779. County of Orange, Colony of New York." 

Marie de Crevecceur. 
120 Rue de Longchamp, Paris, Dec. 25. 

Incidental remarks were made during the meeting by Messrs. 
Samuel A. Green, Thomas W. Higginson, and Albert B. 
Hart. 



22 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 



FEBRUARY MEETING, 1906. 

The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 8th instant, 
at three o'clock, P. M. ; the President in the chair. The record 
of the last meeting was read and approved ; and the customary 
reports from the Librarian, the Cabinet-Keeper, and the Cor- 
responding Secretary were presented. 

Mr. Edward Henry Clement was chosen a Resident Member. 

Mr. Nathaniel Paine was appointed to write the memoir of 
the late Stephen Salisbury for publication in the Proceedings. 

The President then read the following paper : 

The Society will remember that at our December meeting 
a letter of resignation of membership was submitted from our 
associate John Carver Palfrey. The fact that General Palfrey 
was then suffering from a fatal disease was by me at least un- 
suspected, and his letter of resignation was a cause of surprise 
as well as regret. It now, however, appears that it was sent 
to us in certain anticipation of an event not long to be de- 
ferred. General Palfrey died at his house in this city, shortly 
before sunrise of Monday, January 29. 

This Society does not usually include in its Proceedings 
memoirs of those who, having been members, have resigned 
their membership. They were omitted in the noticeable cases 
of George Bancroft and of General Palfrey's father, John 
Gorham Palfrey. Essentially the historian of New England, no 
memoir of Dr. Palfrey, so far as I am aware, has ever been pre- 
pared, yet of him a memoir is now greatly needed. It had been 
my hope that General Palfrey would prepare it, and that it 
might yet be published in our Proceedings ; for Dr. Palfrey was 
a man of high character and of the loftiest moral standards, 
and the absence of anything which can be described as an 
authorized or detailed biography is in his case much to be 
regretted ; nor is the deficiency likely now ever to be made 
good. For more than twenty-five years a member of the So- 
ciety, his first resignation was due to that supersensitiveness 



1906.] TRIBUTE TO JOHN C. PALFREY. 23 

on his part, or perhaps it might be better described as over- 
conscientiousness, which more than once stood in the path of 
his success in life. At one period, it will be remembered, he 
was Secretary of the Commonwealth. As such, he became 
satisfied that a large portion of the so-called Hutchinson 
Papers, then in the possession of the Society, were in reality 
the property of the Commonwealth. They had been borrowed 
from the archives in the old State House by Governor Thomas 
Hutchinson, for use in preparing his History of Massachusetts. 
When Hutchinson's house was ransacked and wrecked by the 
mob, August, 1765, these papers, in common with all his other 
collections, were, as is well known, wantonly destroyed or 
scattered. Many of them, picked up in the streets, fell fortu- 
nately into the possession of Rev. John Eliot, one of the 
original members of our Society. By him they were long 
afterward given to us, and some of them are still in our 
possession. Dr. Palfrey felt it his duty to reclaim these papers 
on behalf of the Commonwealth. Naturally, some of those 
interested in the Society were unwilling to part with what 
had so long been an undisputed possession of the most pre- 
cious character, and Dr. Palfrey considered that an issue 
between himself and the Society had thus been created. In 
his superconscientious estimation a proper spirit of self-respect 
exacted that he should not be on both sides of a controversy. 
He therefore resigned from our Society. This was in 1838 ; 
subsequently, in 1842, he was re-elected, only again to resign 
in April, 1854. Political controversy was then rife, and in the 
contentions of that period Dr. Palfrey was conspicuously iden- 
tified with what in this Society as then constituted was dis- 
tinctly the unpopular side. Again the sensitiveness of the 
wellnigh morbidly conscientious man asserted itself; and the 
coming historian par excellence of New England withdrew 
from his membership in the Massachusetts Historical Society. 
Hence no memoir of him enriches our Proceedings. 

Recurring to his second son, just dead, our late associate was 
chosen into the Society at the December meeting of 1902. 
His brother, General Francis Winthrop Palfrey, it will be 
remembered, had been a member from 1873 until his death, 
in December, 1889. A memoir of him is included in our 
Proceedings. 

Personally, General Palfrey was one of my oldest friends. 



24 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

In fact, I cannot remember a time when I did not know him, 
and know him familiarly. My earliest recollections of him are 
thus of more than sixty years ago ; and from boyhood to the 
time of his death, at more than the allotted age of man, his 
characteristics underwent no considerable change. From 
early youth, all through maturity to a ripe age, they were 
essentially of the sterling type. Like his father, he was severely 
conscientious. His sense of duty and obligation was pro- 
nounced, and a law unto him. What he deemed right, that 
he did ; nor could anything deflect him from what he saw as 
the straight line of conduct. To him might very fairly be ap- 
plied Charles Lamb's words descriptive of one of those Inner 
Temple characters whom he, as Elia, immortalized : " He was 
a man of an incorrigible and losing honesty. A good fellow 
withal, and ' would strike.' '' Unpretentious, shy, perhaps un- 
duly conscious of self and of his own limitations, he moved 
through life with a sort of military precision. Not a born 
soldier, nor originally designed for the soldier calling, as a 
Boston boy, the son of his father, he went, in due course and 
at the prescribed age, to the public Latin School. Entering 
that school in 1844, when it found its local habitation in that 
markedly dreary building, with its formal granite front, on 
Bedford Street, he was there five years ; and to him as to my 
elder brother, his classmate, five very disagreeable years those 
were. He was sent up to take examination for admission to 
Harvard in 1849, and was graduated in the Class of '53, — the 
class of President Eliot, — a class which, first and last, has 
furnished seven members to this Society. While in his senior 
year, Lorenzo Sabine, the member of Congress from the Mid- 
dlesex District, had the gift of an appointment to West Point. 
He nominated to it Dr. Palfrey's son, Dr. Palfrey having rep- 
resented the district in the Thirtieth Congress ; and after 
some deliberation the appointment was accepted. Even then, 
however, it was not the intention of J. C. Palfrey to adopt the 
army as a life profession. Having a natural aptitude for 
mathematics, — what might be described as an orderly, arith- 
metical mind, — his purpose rather was to obtain the best 
possible training as an engineer, and thereafter to devote 
himself to that as a civil calling. 

The cadets of West Point are generally young men, in many 
cases having but very imperfect preparation for academic life ; 



1906.] 



TRIBUTE TO JOHN C. PALFREY. 25 



nor has it been usual for those who have graduated after a full 
course at Harvard to enter the Academy. Young Palfrey 
therefore went to West Point exceptionally well prepared, 
especially in mathematics, and at an age more advanced than 
was usual. It is a somewhat humorous fact, and curiously 
illustrative of what may be called the "outs" of the examination 
test, that, though the entrance requirements for West Point are 
of a most elementary character, it was for a time very ques- 
tionable whether Palfrey would succeed in passing them. He 
had got too far beyond that sort of thing. Nevertheless, he 
did scrape into the Academy ; and, once there, with his ad- 
mirable preparation and studious and regular temperament, 
he soon established himself at the head of his class, and there 
remained until, first in rank, he left the Academy to become 
an officer of the corps of Topographical Engineers. This was 
in 1857. His subsequent military history is to be found in the 
Biographical Register of West Point Officers and Graduates 
(Vol. II. p. 447). Immediately upon graduation he was 
appointed to duty as assistant in the work of repairs and con- 
struction then in progress on the various fortifications along 
the coast of Maine and New Hampshire, and so served until 
the breaking out of the War of Secession in 1861. Subse- 
quently he was assigned to engineer duty in the Department 
of the Gulf, and was stationed at Ship Island while the expe- 
dition under General Butler was organized. He then took 
part in the capture of New Orleans. He was in charge of the 
construction and repair of the fortifications about New Orleans, 
and of the fieldworks of the Department of the Gulf, until he 
took the field in the Red River campaign as Assistant Engi- 
neer of the Military Division of West Mississippi. He directed 
the engineering work at the siege and capture of Forts Gaines 
and Morgan, and of Mobile. He was brevetted Major in 
August, 1864, and in 1865 was made Lieutenant-Colonel of 
Volunteers. Finally, he closed his active services as Brevet- 
Colonel and Brigadier-General of the United States Army. He 
obtained leave of absence in October, 1865, and his resignation 
from the army took effect May 1, 1866. His services, cov- 
ering a period of eight years, four passed in active warfare, 
were valuable as well as laborious, but they were of the solid, 
unassuming description characteristic of the man and of that 
branch of our army organization to which his high academic 

4 



26 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

rank assigned him. He never sought, probably never desired, 
active field service in the immediate command of large bodies of 
troops, — such command as was obtained during the stirring 
time that followed by many of his classmates, both Confederate 
and Union, notably by Generals E. P. Alexander and Kirby 
Smith, George C. Strong, Marcus A. Reno, and John S. Mar- 
maduke, — names inseparably associated with brilliant opera- 
tions in the Civil War. None the less Palfrey did his duty 
effectively in the positions assigned him. 

Returning to civil life in the spring of 1866, he became agent 
of the Merrimack Manufacturing Co., of Lowell, Mass., having 
accepted that appointment the previous October, and familiar- 
ized himself with its duties during the six months' leave of 
absence which closed his connection with the army. He 
remained at Lowell nine years, until the summer of 1874 ; 
in July of that year resigning his position with the Merrimack 
Manufacturing Company, he became treasurer of the Man- 
chester Mills. At this time he married a daughter of the late- 
Samuel R. Payson, of Boston. He was treasurer of the Man- 
chester Mills for seventeen years, at the close of which, in 
October, 1891, his active business life terminated. 

To the end General Palfrey maintained his interest in the 
military operations of the great struggle in which he had been 
concerned ; and it was in this field that he did that historical 
work which subsequently led to his becoming a member of 
our Society. His papers related almost entirely to military 
episodes in which he himself had taken a part, and concerning 
which he was thoroughly informed. They were therefore of 
real historical value. His writing was characteristic of the 
man and his mental make-up, — straightforward, solid, to the 
point, showing absolute honesty of thought and a complete 
mastery of his subject. Conscientiously exact, devoid of un- 
necessary ornament, he went every time to the heart of his 
theme. I will more especially specify the following papers 
which appeared in the publications of the Military Historical 
Society of Massachusetts, or in the columns of the New York 
" Nation" : — one on the Siege of Yorktown, written in 1878, 
and published in the first volume of the Military Historical 
Society's papers ; another, on the Siege of Port Hudson, read 
to the same Society in April, 1891 ; further papers also on the 
Siege of Yorktown, General McClellan's Plans after the Fall 



1906.] LETTER FROM HON. JOHN BIGELOW. 27 

of Yorktown, on the Capture of Mobile, and on the Assault on 
Port Hudson. After the war General Palfrey was elected a 
member of the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Society, and for 
many years he was one of the Visiting Board of Thayer 
School of Dartmouth College. 

Chosen into this Society somewhat late in life, and a mem- 
ber of it for only three years, though frequently seen at our 
meetings, General Palfrey, I regret to say, never took an active 
or prominent part in our discussions, nor does any contribu- 
tion from his pen appear in our Proceedings. This is much to 
be regretted. But what was our loss was the gain of the sister 
Military Historical Society of Massachusetts. 

Born in Boston, December 25, 1833, at the time of his death 
General Palfrey was in his seventy-third year. A man, as I 
have already said, of inflexible honesty, through an active life 
extending over forty-five years he did his work well, and in 
absolute conformity with the line of duty as he saw it ; and his 
ideals of duty and of obligation were high. He leaves two 
sons to perpetuate a name very distinguished in that field of 
historical research more peculiarly ours. 

Hon. Samuel A. Green read a letter from Hon. John 
Bigelow, senior Corresponding Member of the Society, and 
showed the photographs mentioned in it: 

21 Gramercy Park, N. Y., 
January 16, 1906. 
Dr. Samuel A. Green, 

Librarian of the Mass. Historical Society. 
Dear Sir, — With this note I send you two photographs 
of a statuette of Franklin which was commended to my atten- 
tion in a letter, of which the following is a copy, that I re- 
ceived in the spring of 1904, from Madame Guerin de Vaux, 
its possessor. 

18 Rue Pierre Charron XVI, 

Paris, the 10th March. 
Dear Mr. Bigelow, — I am most happy that the photo I could 
send you was found interesting, and I shall be very satisfied to see 
reproduced in print an object which is for me a family heirloom. 

My father, Mr. Fournier des Orvres, was indeed the great-grandson 
of Fournier le Jeune, who was a great printer and possessed much knowl- 
edge, born in 1712, died in 1768. My father was the last to bear his 
name ; my sister Mme. de Thore and I are his direct descendants. 



28 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

Fournier le Jeune was very intimate with Franklin. At the time of 
my birth, there still existed letters which they had exchanged, and par- 
ticularly the one which had accompanied the sending of the statue. 
Unhappily they have been lost since, and I am sorry to be unable 
to send you any written proof of their relations. 

The name of the author is unknown. 

Other reproductions of the statue possibly exist, as I know for certain 
that some statues of the same kind have been sometimes made — several 
in number. I know indeed two statuettes of Voltaire of the same type 
and which are like each other (Mr. d'Allemagne's collection and 
Musee Carnavalet in Paris). These statues are made of a white paste, 
gesso or other composition ; they have been moulded and painted. The 
hair of the one we possess is certainly real hair of the great Franklin, 
which has been stuck ; the letter I named before mentioned it. The 
connoisseur Mr. d'Allemagne declares them of German workmanship. 

Regretting to be incapable to give you no better clue concerning the* 
object you pursue, I remain 

Yours sincerely, 

GlJERIN DE VATJX. 

These pictures have never been in commerce, and the only 
one of them which has ever been published — that giving the 
side view of Franklin — appeared for the first time, and only, 
in the fifth edition of my Life of Franklin, published in April 
last. You will agree with me, I think, in regarding these 
photographs, taken from the only plate ever made of the origi- 
nal, as not only a striking likeness of one of our most distin- 
guished men, but also a work of art of no ordinary merit. 

While in Paris last summer I took occasion to visit the two 
statuettes of Voltaire referred to by Madame de Vaux as pos- 
sibly being the work of the same sculptor. Of these I send 
you also photographs, by which I think you will readily agree 
with me that while the one in the Musee Carnavalet is unques- 
tionably by the same artist as the Franklin, and was wrought 
in the same atelier with precisely the same accessories ; the 
other was wrought in a different atelier, with entirely different 
accessories, and by a very inferior artist. M. Henri d'Alle- 
magne, its proprietor, told me that he bought it in Germany 
— I think in Hamburg — and deemed it to be probably the 
work of a German, and also the work of the same artist that 
wrought the Voltaire in the Musee Carnavalet. Neither 
Madame de Vaux, the Directors of the Muse'e Carnavalet, 
nor M. d'Allemagne had any information or offered any conjee- 



1906.] LETTER FROM HON. JOHN BIGELOW. 29 

tures as to the author of either of these works. This was 
largely due, I presume, to the fact that neither of them knew 
much if anything more about Franklin than his name. 

I was not long in reaching the conclusion that Madame de 
Vaux's statuette of Franklin and the Carnavalet statuette of 
Voltaire were the work of Nini, an Italian, whose medallions, 
as you doubtless are well aware, are among the most famous 
of his period ; and that none among them are more valued by 
connoisseurs and collectors than his medallions of Franklin. I 
will briefly state the grounds of my faith. 

Jean Baptiste Nini was a native of Urbino in Italy, and was 
born in 1716, one year after the death of Louis the Fourteenth. 
He died in 1786. The latter half of his life he resided in 
France. When about forty years of age, he established him- 
self in the humble village of Chaumont. Le Ray de Chaumont, 
while Intendant of the Hotel Royal des Invalides, acquired the 
seigneurie of Chaumont, on which he discovered a remarkably 
fine quality of clay for artistic purposes. He also discovered 
in Nini, who had already acquired reputation as an engraver 
on glass, peculiar talents for utilizing that clay. He attached 
Nini to him on a salary of twelve hundred francs a year, 
with lodging, heat, and light. Nini began there with engrav- 
ing on glass and in amusing himself in reproducing on glass 
the compositions of Boucher. The remarkable plasticity of 
the clay at Chaumont at length led him to turn his attention 
to medallions, which he baked in a pottery established on 
the estate, and which were put on the market at the moderate 
price of twenty sols (cents) apiece. In 1778, as this business 
with his fame extended, Nini became Director (Regisseur) of 
the establishments founded at Chaumont by Le Ray, as his 
patron was usually called. This position he retained until his 
death. 

During Franklin's entire sojourn in Paris he occupied a 
house on the estate at Passy of Mre. Le Ray, Chevalier 
Seigneur de Chaumont-sur-Loire et autres lieues, Conseillier 
du Roy en ses Conseils, Grand Maitre Honoraire des Eaux 
et Forets, Intendant de l'Hotel Royal des Invalides y dem't. 
Paroisse Saint Louis — for it took all these titles to describe 
him properly in his contract with Nini ; and it was through Le 
Ray that Franklin, until recognized as Minister of the United 
States, held what intercourse he had with the government of 



30 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

France. Their relations therefore were of the most intimate 
character. He necessarily fell into correspondingly intimate 
relations with Nini, who appears to have found him his most 
profitable model. 

The most recent and the most detailed account of this eccen- 
tric artist x gives the record of one hundred and nine of his 
medallions, sixty of which are in the Collection of the late 
Prince A. de Broglie. There are nine medallions of Franklin 
alone, and five of these belong to the De Broglie collection. 
None of the eminent sitters of Nini are represented by half 
as many pieces as Franklin ; yet among these were Maria 
Theresa of Austria ; her daughter, Marie Antoinette, Queen 
of France ; three of Louis XV. ; Louis XVI. ; Due de Berry; 
the Empress Catharine of Russia ; Voltaire ; Le Ray de Chau- 
mont and The'rese his wife ; the Count de Caylies ; Charles III. 
of Spain ; and three heads in one medallion of Nini himself, 
his wife and daughter. 

The resources of Nini's genius are nowhere better illustrated 
than in the variety of his portraitures of Franklin. Four of 
these portraits have the same features, but their dates and 
legends are different. They have in some sort the air of being 
official portraits of the Savant and the Statesman. Others 
represent him in a more intimate and familiar guise. In one 
he wears a fur cap, the reproduction of which has made his 
features universally known. Another in all respects similar, 
but much rarer, shows him with spectacles on his nose. This 
differs from the first two in the coiffure. The fur cap is ex- 
changed for a long bonnet of liberty, like those worn by the 
Neapolitan fishermen. 

It deserves to be remarked here that in the statuette at the 
Carnavalet Museum, obviously the work of the same artist as 
that of the Franklin, Voltaire's head is covered with a Liberty 
Cap, showing that it was a kind of head dress which the 
artist was fond of using with sitters like Voltaire and Frank- 
lin, whose political principles would permit him to use it 
occasionally. 

The medallion of Franklin in the fur bonnet is quite the 
most widespread of Nini's work. It was sent to the United 
States by thousands in barrels. Some of these barrels have 

1 Jean-Baptiste Nini: Sa Vie, Son CEurre, 1717-1786; A Storelli. Tours: 
Imprimerie A. Mame et fils, 1896. 



1906.] LETTER FROM HON. JOHN BIGELOW. 31 

since his death been found at Chaumont and some at Nantes. 
They had never progressed farther towards their destination. 

Nini spent fourteen years of his life at Chaumont, and 
they covered all the years of Franklin's official residence in 
France. Nothing could have been more natural than for 
Franklin to be drawn into close relations with Fournier le 
Jeune, who was unquestionably the most original and the 
most famous type-founder that France has ever produced, — 
obeying the same laws of attraction which had bound him in 
intimate relations with William Strahan, a leading printer in 
England during his residence there, — and nothing more natu- 
ral than that Franklin should have presented to Fournier le 
Jeune the statuette which is now the priceless inheritance of 
Madame de Vaux. 

Franklin left Paris in 1785, the year before Nini's death. 
During the previous nine years Nini made more medallions of 
Franklin than of any other person, and must therefore have 
come into such relations with him as could scarcely fail to 
have been familiar if not intimate, and which at least dispel 
any improbability of this statuette being his work ; for Nini 
was a dwarf, barely four feet in height. He was original to 
eccentricity ; he was fond of good cheer and dreaded the cold. 
His dress was exceedingly conspicuous and was worn in a way 
to give his person a most bizarre and grotesque appearance. 
He cultivated nails excessively long. When once asked if they 
had anything to do with his success as an artist, he drew from 
a shabby armoire a psalterion — a sort of harp or zither — on 
which he played delightfully with his nails. It is not surpris- 
ing that a person who was in so many ways such an exception 
to his species should have amused himself in leisure moments 
by making these statuettes of sitters like Voltaire and Frank- 
lin, who were intelligent enough to appreciate his genius and 
wise enough to appear blind to his peculiarities. 

If circumstantial evidence alone can ever prove anything, I 
think I have said enough to settle conclusively the authorship 
of this statuette and its value as a memorial of Franklin. This 
presumption is strengthened by the fact that no one has sug- 
gested or can suggest the name of any other artist whose 
relations with Franklin or with Nini would justify even a 
suspicion that either of these statuettes was his work. 

Yours faithfully, John Bigelow. 



32 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

Mr. Franklin B. Sanborn read parts of the following 
paper : 

St. John de Crevecoeur, the American Farmer (1735-1813). 

Thirty-two years ago, at the February meeting of this So- 
ciety in 1874, its honored President, the late R. C. Winthrop, 
submitted from the Bowdoin Papers in his possession four 
letters from St. John de Crevecoeur, once so well known in this 
city, in New York, and all over Europe as ' ; The American 
Farmer." They were sent to Governor Bowdoin in the years 
1786-1788, three of them from France and the last from New 
York, where he was then French consul, and were written in 
English, as was the first series of the " Letters of an American 
Farmer," which first appeared in London in 1782. In the 
letter of October 21, 1786, St. John said : — 

"A second edition of the A. F's letters, with a 3rd vol., will soon 
appear, of which I shall not fail to send your Excellency an Exemplary, 
to whom I expect personally to present in June next the unfeigned 
Respect and consideration wherewith I have the Honor to be your 
Excellency's 

u Most Humble Servant." 

He had previously, in a letter to Bowdoin from Caen in 
Lower Normandy (his birthplace) of July 1, 1786, announced 
this French edition of the " Farmer's Letters," and the fact that 
a third volume was to be added. The first French edition, 
varying considerably from the London edition, had appeared in 
two volumes in 1784. 

Now, who was this Frenchman who for so many years passed 
as an American, and of whom neither Mr, Winthrop nor Pro- 
fessor Barrett Wendell knew the true name, date of birth, or 
his whole remarkable story? Mr. Winthrop was excusable in 
this want of knowledge, since the copious biography of St. 
John de Crevecceur by his great-grandson, Robert St. John de 
Crevecoeur, was not published in Paris until 1883 ; but it has 
long been in three of our neighboring libraries, including that 
of Harvard University, and might easily have been consulted 
by any historian of our American Revolution or its literature. 
If so consulted, it would have corrected those errors of name 
and date, extent of authorship, etc., which have been perpetu- 
ated in this country for a century up to 1901. 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECOEUR. 33 

Michel Guillaurae St. Jean de Crevecoeur, who at the age 
of fifty found himself famous under his assumed English name 
of u Hector St. John," was born at Caen, January 31, 1735, the 
son of a Norman gentleman whose ancestors had fought, long 
before, by the name of St. Jean, under a Rohan, and waited at 
the court of Margaret of Valois, but in the eighteenth cen- 
tury had settled into civil employments at Caen, and acquired 
the title of De Crevecoeur from ownership of the small fief of 
that name in the district of Troarn in the present Department 
of Calvados. St. John's father was called, by courtesy, Marquis 
de Crevecoeur, and had his country-seat at Pierpont, near 
Ver, not far from the seacoast, in another part of Calvados. 
He had a town house in Caen, and there his eldest son was 
born and put to school at the Jesuit college on the hill 
(Du Mont). 

There he got hard fare and sound Latin, lodging in a cold 
north room ; for he told his children that it was there, while 
sleepless in the winter cold, that lie first identified the pole- 
star which in later years guided him in the Canadian forests. 
His uncle, Jacques de Crevecoeur, had married a lady named 
Mutel, whose sister lived at Salisbury in England, and to her 
he was sent, for some cause yet unknown (perhaps a school 
escapade), to complete his education. Whether he returned to 
Normandy before sailing for America is also unknown. There 
is a tradition that he was in Lisbon after the earthquake of 
1755, and he declared that he was in Canada before he was 
twenty, — that is, in the earthquake year. However, his ex- 
act career between the beginning of our French and Indian 
war and his naturalization as a citizen of New York in 1764, 
was never fully narrated, and he may have had some reason for 
concealing parts of it. As a French Canadian he made explo- 
rations among the savages west and southwest of Montreal, 
and took part in the war against us as an officer (probably of 
engineers) in a regiment under Vaudreuil and Montcalm. 

He had acquired in England a knowledge of mathematics, 
and apparently the skill of a land surveyor and draughtsman ; 
for his first employment at Quebec was the drawing of a large 
map of the French possessions. In pursuing this work he 
seems to have made a long, hazardous journey west and south, 
perhaps as far as to the Ohio River near West Virginia. This 
may have been in 1755-1756. There is in the War Office at 



34 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

Paris a manuscript map of Canada and the northern English 
colonies, dated 1758, and appearing to be St. John's work. 
At any rate, he was a lieutenant in 1757-1758 of the Canadian 
regiment of Sarre ; and the " Gazette de France" (March 8, 
1759) said : — 

" Bougainville, aide of the Marquis de Montcalm in Canada, has re- 
ported to the King the general situation in Canada, and has had the 
honor to present a plan of the forts and a map of the places that are 
the scene of war in that country. These were drawn by the Sieur de 
Crevecoeur, an officer in the Sarre regiment, now employed engineer- 
ing; he has made much repute by his talent and courage." 1 

A doubt is thrown over the statement that the " Gazette's " 
a Sieur de Crevecoeur employe dans le genie " was our St. 
John, by the fact that in writing to Dr. Franklin from Caen, 
September 26, 1781, the latter, newly arrived in Normandy 
from England, said : — 

" I am so great a stranger to the manners of this my native country, 
(having quitted it very young) that I never dreamt I had any other than 
the old family name of St. John, — a name as ancient as the Conquest 
of England by William the Bastard. I was greatly astonished when 
at my late return [August, 1781], I saw myself under the necessity of 
being called by that of Crevecoeur." 

In favor of the two Crevecoeurs being the same youth is the 
fact that St. John, in his " Journey in Upper Pennsylvania," 
published at Paris in French in 1801, says (Vol. I. p. 337), 
speaking of the so-called massacre of Fort William Henry in 
1757, that he himself was present. After relating a talk he 
had with a Pottawatomie chief, Kanna-Satego, in which the 
Indian defended not only the killing but the eating of captured 
enemies, St. John says : — 

" Such ferocious savages attacked the English garrison at Fort 
William Henry, who, agreeably to the capitulation of their Colonel, 

1 Against this identification of our subject with the map-maker is the fact that 
the latter registered himself, when assigned to the company of Rumigny in the 
regiment of the Sarre, as born in the parish of St. Eustache at Paris, January 
6, 1738, while our St. John was certainly born at Caen nearly three years 
earlier. But dates were never St. John's forte. He misstated the ages of his 
children by two years, and dedicated the French edition of his " Lettres d'un 
Cultivateur Americain " to Lafayette from " Albany, 17 Mai 1781," though at 
that date he was in England. 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 35 

Monro, were marching to Fort Edward without arms. They scalped 
a great number of these soldiers, some of whom were cut up and put 
into their kettles. I have heard an officer serving under the Marquis 
Montcalm relate all the details of this frightful butchery." 

In a manuscript comment on this statement St. John says 
this French officer was himself. How he occcupied the time 
from 1758 until he turns up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, about 
1762, is hard to say. His biographer says he did not return to 
France with the remains of the defeated Canadian army in 
1760, although his name still stands on the regimental list of 
the Sarre regiment during the campaigns of Montcalm in 
1758-1759. There are some indications that he was in Nor- 
mandy between 1760 and 1763, for his name is said to be on 
the list of an agricultural society of Caen in 1763. M. Lahr, who 
published the Proceedings of that Society in 1827, called St. 
John one of its first members, about 1763. To this his bi- 
ographer replies: " M. Lahr must have made a mistake. St. 
John was then in America, hardly established as a farmer, andl 
certainly not so well known as to take part, even as a corre- 
spondent, in a society which included the most distinguished, 
men of his native city." From the fact that he speaks of hav- 
ing been early familiar with the northern parts of Vermont, 
wherein afterwards three new towns, St. Johnsbury, Ver- 
gennes, and Danville, were named for himself and his French 
patrons, it has been conjectured that he left Canada before the 
surrender of Quebec, and came into the region of Vermont and 
the upper Hudson valley, whence he soon found his way to 
the Quakers of Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was em- 
ployed, probably as a land surveyor, at Shippensburg, near 
Carlisle, and made many acquaintances in Pennsylvania. He 
bought land in Sussex County, New Jersey, not far from the 
border of Orange County ; but after his marriage to Mehitable 
Tippet, in 1769, he established himself on a farm near Corn- 
wall, New York, which was called by him " Pine Hill," and 
which he often describes in his books. He occupied this farm 
from 1770 to April 19, 1779 ; but he by no means confined 
himself to it, nor to the larger limits of Orange and Sussex 
counties. He had before this made long excursions into the 
Indian wilderness ; and in the few years before the Declara- 
tion of Independence he had visited Maryland, Virginia, much 
of Pennsylvania as it was then inhabited, and a portion of 

1128372 



36 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

New England, particularly Nantucket, which he was the first 
European to describe poetically. He was indeed what the 
French mean by a poet, — a person who looks at life through 
the medium of sensibility and fancy rather than in the dry 
light of common sense. He therefore exaggerated naturally, 
and without intention to deceive ; for whatever he saw he saw 
clearly and whatever he felt he felt forcibly ; and this combi- 
nation of clear perception and vivid feeling gave both form and 
color to his descriptions. 

According to Lacretelle, who in 1783-1784 introduced him 
as an author to Frenchmen, St. John's habit was to note down 
each day, as lie journeyed about, the observations he made 
and the conversations he heard ; and this he did always in 
English. Lacretelle said : — 

" Having adopted in youth a country which was English, he devoted 
himself wholly to the language of that country. He read and he wrote 
in that tongue, so that his native language became to him a foreign 
tongue. You have already heard that this author and translator is 
M. St. Jean de Crevecoeur, born a French gentleman, who passed 
twenty-four years of his life in North America. This French trans- 
lator and English author writes in our language with an English free- 
dom and originality in his choice of subjects. Not that I call that a 
defect which French leaders may find odd in his style, and so ask par- 
don for it ; no, it seems to me that this tone (a little quaint) will please 
in a work that must interest us more by its simplicity than its elegance." 

It will here be noticed that Lacretelle shortens St. John's 
American life by three years, for the author himself claimed 
twenty-seven American years. As he sailed from New York 
for Ireland September 1, 1780, and could not well have got to 
Canada till late in 1754, — and indeed there is no certain 
trace of him there before 1757, — it may be that Lacretelle 
was more exact than St. John himself, and that the } 7 oung 
Frenchman spent some time in Holland and Portugal before 
visiting Montreal and the Indians to the southwest of that 
capital. The family tradition was that St. John touched at 
Lisbon on his way to Canada, and there saw the ruin caused 
by the great earthquake of November, 1755. In the unpub- 
lished English manuscript of the " American Farmer's Letters," 
was a story called " The Rock of Lisbon," in which the author 
speaks of a considerable stay made by him in Portugal, after 
the earthquake, but at an unfixed date. " This letter," says 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 37 

his biographer, " was afterwards made over into a romantic 
episode of the 'Journey in Pennsylvania' (1801), II. 275." 
But, as he also speaks of being employed at Quebec some 
time in 1755, making maps, the Portuguese adventure is left 
doubtful. 1 

However he may have got there, St. John at the age of 
twenty-nine had himself naturalized, in 1764, as a citizen of 
New York, and a few months after he took up " the old farm 
of Grey court " (May 2, 1764), wherever it may have been, — 
for it was not the Pine Hill farm, and may have been on the 
confines of New Jersey. This was five years before his mar- 
riage, and probably before he had property enough to support 
a wife. He describes so well the work of clearing up a new 
farm, and the habits of life incident thereto, that he must have 
seen it going on for some years. In his last work, just cited, 
(Vol. I. pp. 267-281) we have an account given by his good 
friend Colonel Woodhull, then at the age of forty-nine, of Ms 
experience in turning the Orange County wilderness into good 
farms. Of these Colonel Woodhull possessed far more than 
St. John ever did, namely, fifteen hundred acres, of which 
seven hundred and forty-eight were cultivated. He had been 
thirty-one years bringing them into cultivation, — interrupted, 
however, by a voyage of mercantile adventure to Surinam. 
Returning discontented from that tropical country, Woodhull 
found that his father, living on Long Island, had carried on 
the work of clearing up the Orange County wilderness and 
had also selected a wife for Jesse. Obediently marrying her, 
he was now the father of nine children, for whom he was 
providing farms, after the Revolution, in which he had taken 
part as colonel of militia. He was also sheriff of the county ; 
but his chief work was that of farming on a large scale ; 
making maple sugar from his own sugar-orchard, bay berry- 
tallow candles from the fruit of bushes on the mountain-side 
near by, and hundreds of yards of woollen, linen, and cotton 
cloth, spun and woven in his own houses. Colonel Woodhull, 

1 The mixture of truth and fiction in St. John's books is quite perplexing to 
the reader at first; and so well is the fiction managed, mostly in the Defoe style 
of realism, that it is hard to say where the short story ends and the true report 
begins. Much of the later book is taken up with short novels like the tale of 
Juan de Braganza ; which is highly improbable, yet humanly possible, and 
accompanied with much detail of real life. St. John grew prolix in these later 
volumes, and does not seem to have had many readers. 



38 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Fkb. 

of whom we shall hear more in connection with Fanny St. 
John, had a brother, an instructor in Yale College, whose 
farming in Connecticut was still more remarkable. Accord- 
ing to the Colonel, — 

" My brother has a small plantation not far from the College, where, 
by force of his science and perseverance, he has united all the useful 
and agreeable products of the whole country. You might say his 
garden and farm are an epitome of the continent. Once a year he 
gives a great dinner to his president and colleagues, which he calls by a 
Greek name that I forget. His table-cloth is made from some cotton- 
plants that he raises ; the napkins are bordered in blue stripes, colored 
with indigo, of which he annually makes two or three ounces. ... I will 
not dwell on the meats, vegetables, and fruits which come from his barn 
and poultry-yard and kitchen-garden ; his maple-sugar, oil of sesame, 
peach-brandy, maple-vinegar and syrup, cider, metheglin, cherry-wine, 
confectionery, Labrador tea, etc. All, even the coffee, comes from his 
fields, his garden or his greenhouse, — all, even his bay berry candles. 
But what will surprise you more is the punch with which he regales 
them. The acid of this drink comes alto from his garden. Some years 
ago, traversing our woods, I discovered this charming fruit-shrub ; it 
bears berries large as a pigeon's egg, of the loveliest red, filled with a 
transparent juice of the same color, which our doctors say is as good 
as the lemon-juice from Jamaica or Bahama: its taste is that of the 
swamp-cranberry." 

I suspect a little exaggeration here, as there often is in St. 
John's account of things American ; he sees the real thing, 
but it gets exalted in his imagination before he describes it. 
Colonel Woodhull mowed one hundred acres of grass ; his 
haying-time lasted six weeks ; his household comprised thirty- 
five persons, whom he must feed and clothe. St. John himself 
had managed a smaller household some miles nearer the 
Hudson, on his Pine Hill farm. But he did not build his 
log-cabin there until 1770, and afterwards a better " frame- 
house " of which he made a water-color sketch, with the 
landscape about it, still kept by his descendants in France, 
who also have a good profile portrait of him. Soon after the 
birth of his oldest child, a girl named Fanny, he went in 1772 
to make a long visit among the Quakers of Nantucket, and 
described their community and whale-fishery at much length. 

It has pleased some critics, who never took the trouble to 
read St. John thoroughly, or with due care for what they did 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 39 

read, to speak of his pictures of American rural life and political 
opportunity as wanting in actuality, — comparing him to men 
far more brilliant, who did not take the pains to observe 
carefully and control one observation by another. On the 
contrary, I find that the remarkable skill in generalization 
which is the French intellectual quality most noticeable, was 
in his case based on a multitude of observations and researches, 
as repeated and exhaustive as those which a German professor 
undertakes in his most thorough inquiries. The chapters on 
Nantucket are perhaps the best single instance of this combi- 
nation of the observer and the analytic generalizer in a single 
person. Precisely what took St. John to that barren sand- 
bank in the open ocean is unknown ; but finding himself 
there, he seems to have said to himself: — 

" Here is a new problem in American life. The unlimited freedom 
of opportunity, the surprising kindliness of Nature are here wanting. I 
can account for the speedy transformation of the peasant from the 
Palatinate or the Hebrides into the self-directing, self-respecting Penn- 
sylvania farmer ; but what brought these Quakers to this narrow and 
desert habitation, and built up for them a dense community of wealth 
and equality ? Let me look into this." 

And he did so. Reasoning that a small example, well sifted 
and tested, is better than a cursory glance at the whole wide 
field of American colonization, he sought, as he declares, " for 
some small, unnoticed corner." He found it in Nantucket. 
He says: — 

" Numberless settlements, each distinguished by some peculiarities, 
present themselves on every side. Here they live by fishing on the 
most plentiful coasts in the world ; there they fell trees, beside large 
rivers, for masts and lumber ; here others convert innumerable logs into 
the best boards ; there, again, others cultivate the land, rear cattle, and 
clear large fields. Yet I have a spot in my view where none of these 
occupations is performed, — barren in its soil, insignificant in extent, 
inconvenient in situation, deprived of materials for building. It seems 
to have been inhabited merely to prove what mankind can do when 
happily governed. There I meet with barren spots fertilized, grass 
growing where none grew before ; grain gathered from fields which 
had hitherto produced nothing better than brambles ; dwellings raised 
where no building materials were to be found, and wealth acquired 
by the most uncommon means. Who would imagine that any people 
should have abandoned a fruitful and extensive continent, replete with 



40 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

good soil, enamelled meadows, rich pastures, every kind of timber, and 
with all other materials to render life happy and comfortable, — to come 
and inhabit a little sand-bank, to which nature had refused those advan- 
tages ? This island has nothing deserving of notice but its inhabitants. 
Their freedom, their skill, their probity and perseverance have accom- 
plished everything, and brought them by degrees to the rank they now 
hold." 

Here, then, was the place to test the principles that made 
colonial life in America prosperous ; and St. John notes every- 
thing down very carefully, and reports it with substantial 
accuracy. In so doing he digresses a little to make a remark 
on the difference between the Quaker settlements in the mild 
winters of North Carolina, and the long and cold Maine win- 
ters ; and what he says has been fully verified by the experi- 
ence of a century and a quarter. In 1766 the Nantucket 
Quakers had planted a colony at the head of Deep River, 
North Carolina, in " a fertile and bewitching country," while 
others had settled on the Kennebec in Maine. St. John 
then says : — 

" Were I to begin life again, I would prefer the country of Kennebec 
to the other, however bewitching. ' If the latter exceeds in the softness 
of its climate, the fecundity of its soil, and a greater variety of products 
from less labor, it does not breed men equally hardy, nor so capable to 
encounter dangers and fatigues. It leads too much to idleness and 
effeminacy. On the Kennebec the constant healthiness of the climate, 
the happy severities of the winter, always sheltering the earth with a 
voluminous coat of snow, and the equally happy necessity of labor, — 
all these reasons would greatly preponderate against the softer situa- 
tions of Carolina, where mankind reap too much, do not toil enough, 
and enjoy too fast the benefits of life. The Kennebec will always 
be a country of health, labor, and strong activity ; characteristics of 
society which I value more than greater opulence and voluptuous 
ease." 

St. John had tried the more severe winters of Canada, and 
knew whereof he spoke ; he also knew and abhorred negro 
slavery, of which only a mild form existed in New York where 
he settled. His account of the coming on of winter in the 
Mohawk valley would apply as well to the valley of the Ken- 
nebec. It did not come out in the English edition of his 
" Farmer's Letters," but appeared six years later in the first 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 41 

volume of the Paris edition of 1787 (pp. 289 et seq.), and is 
almost as graphic as Emerson's " Snowstorm," 

" Announced by all the trumpets of the sky " : 

" Among the characteristics of our climate, none is more striking than 
the beginning of our winters, and the vehemence with which their first 
rigor descends upon the earth. It comes down from Heaven, and be- 
comes one of Heaven's chief favors. What should we do but for the 
immense body of our useful snows? It is due to them that we can 
gather abundantly the crops we raise. This deluge of congealed water, 
in spite of its harsh aspect, is a vast mantle that covers and keeps warm 
the grasses and grain of our fields. Bug this is the season when the 
duties of a large farmer become more extensive and absorbing. He 
must draw from his winter storehouse all sorts of subsistence that will 
be needed ; he must look out that his fodder shall be enough to keep 
all his cattle, during their long confinement, which often covers half 
the year. He must separate his creatures, so that the stronger may not 
trouble the weaker ; must find the best place to water them in winter, 
with a path to it not too slippery. He must break out roads — joining 
his team to those of his neighbors to beat down the snow on the high- 
ways and keep them open ; and he must have the means of guarding 
against disease and accident, and also a remedy for them if they come. 
Great must be his forethought, knowledge, and activity, to supply his 
household with five months' food and clothing. Every wise man must 
prepare for the roughest season Nature can give us. . . . 

" The great rains come along at last, to fill up the springs, brooks 
and swamps ; this is an infallible sign, to which succeeds a sharp freeze, 
brought by the northwest wind. The piercing cold bridges with ice all 
the waters, and prepares the ground to receive the great mass of snow 
that will soon follow. The roads, lately impassable from mud, now 
become carriageable and easy. Sometimes after this rain there comes 
an interval of quiet and warmth, called the ' Indian Summer ' ; its indi- 
cations are the absence of wind, and a general smoky appearance. The 
approach of winter was not ominous till now, it sets in towards the 
middle of November, though often, snows and slight freezes long pre- 
cede it. . . . 

" Soon the northwest wind, that grand harbinger of cold, ceases to 
blow ; the atmosphere thickens perceptibly, and the sky takes on a 
grey color ; you feel a cold that attacks your nose and fingers. This 
calm lasts a short time 5 a dull and faraway sound announces some 
great change. The wind veers round to northeast ; the sunlight is 
dimmed, though you may see no cloud ; a general darkness seems 
coming on. Minute atoms are falling at last ; you can hardly see 
them. They slowly descend, as if scarcely heavier than the air ; sure 

6 



42 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

sign of a heavy fall of snow. Insensibly the number and volume of 
the white particles become more evident ; they fall in bigger flakes ; 
a distant wind makes itself heard more and more, with a sound that 
swells as it comes on. The wintry element, so long expected, now 
arrives in all the pomp of Boreas, and begins to give a uniform color 
to all things. The wind's force gains ; the chill and treacherous calm 
changes to a tempest, which drives the clouds into the southwest with 
great swiftness. This wind howls at all the doors, sounds in all the 
chimneys, and whistles in sharpest tone through the bare branches of 
the nearest trees. 

" Sometimes a great snowfall is preceded by sleet ; this spreads a 
brilliant glaze over the grouud, the trees, the buildings and fences. 
What a sudden change between nightfall and morning ! The autumn 
landscape has vanished ; Nature is clad in universal splendor ; a veil of 
dazzling white contrasts with the clear blue sky. Muddy roads, deep 
in mire, have now become icy and solid ways. 

u The alarm has spread on all sides ; the master, followed by his 
people, hastens to the fields of the cattle, lets down the bars, calls 
them, and counts them as they pass out. Oxen and cows, taught by 
experience, go to find the place where they were fed last winter ; the 
young cattle follow; all plod slowly. The colts, hard , to catch in 
pleasant weather, suddenly grow tamer and more docile to the strok- 
ing hand. The sheep, burdened in fleeces overweighted with snow, go 
forward slowly, bleating in embarrassing fear. These are the first to 
get attention ; soon the horses are led to their stable, the cattle to their 
stalls ; the rest, according to age, are put in the quarters assigned to 
them. All are now in shelter ; no need as yet to feed them ; they must 
feel the sting of hunger before they will eat the dry fodder, forgetting 
the grass they have lately fed on. 

" The farmer's vigilant eye has directed all this ; the good master 
has provided for everything, and no accident has happened. He now 
returns to the house, wading through a fall of snow that already fills the 
roadway. His clothes are covered with sleet and icicles ; his face, 
smitten by wind and snowflakes, is red and inflamed. His wife, de- 
lighted to see him back before nightfall, greets him with a mug of 
cider spiced with nutmeg. But a vague trouble annoys them. The 
children had gone in the morning to a distant school ; the sun was then 
shining, and no thought of snow ; they have not yet come home, — 
where can they be ? The mother communicates her anxiety to her 
spouse, who was already secretly uneasy. He bids one of the negroes 
go to the schoolhouse with Bonny, the old, faithful mare. Tom obeys 
in haste, mounts without saddle or bridle, and hurries on through snow 
and wind. The children were at the door, impatiently awaiting aid 
from home ; the schoolmaster had gone and left them. They recognize 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 43 

Tom ' the good nigger,' with cries of joy, — all the more from the fun 
of going home horseback. He sets two behind him and one in front. 
Rachel, the child of a poor widow, with tears in her eyes sees her 
companions provided with a horse and a slave, — a cruel mortification, 
such as children know. ' Must Rachel stay here all alone ? ' she cries ; 
'my mother hasn't got a horse nor a man.' 'T is the first time the 
child has realized her situation, or made such a reflection. The negro, 
touched by her grief, and to please his master's children, puts her on 
Bonny's neck, after several efforts, and off they go." 

Thus the tale goes on, showing how they reached home, 
were brushed and warmed and fed, and sent off to sleep ; while 
the father watches the driving storm, and the negroes smoke 
their pipes and tell stories by the kitchen hearth, after piling 
logs on the family fire. All this, rather too diffusely told, 
shows how good an observer was St. John. His English style 
reads as if it had been smoothed a little in Ireland or England, 
— for his private letters are not so pleasingly written ; and his 
rhetoric in French is hardly so good as in English. 

By 1776, when the War of the Revolution began to threaten 
the peaceful banks of the Hudson, and the hostile Indians 
were stirring in the country of the Five Nations, St. John had 
brought his Pine Hill farm to a good state of cultivation. I 
have submitted here a small photograph of his house and fields, 
the original drawn by himself, and showing a true colonial 
landscape. The house, with a Dutch " stoop "in front, is of 
two stories, with five front windows ; it overlooks undulating 
fields, watered by a brook. At the left is a garden, showing 
the sassafras tree, of whose planting he tells so pretty a story ; 
on the right is a large grassy yard, around which are the farm- 
buildings and a dozen negro cabins ; farther away is a large 
orchard, and some fields fenced in. In the meadow sit the 
farmer and his wife, under a clump of trees ; in the foreground 
a negro guides a plough, on which is fixed a small wheeled 
chair occupied by an infant. This was little Louis, who dimly 
remembered, in his old age, this novel ride on his father's 
plough, and told his grandson, Robert St. John, about it. In 
the background of the sketch are wooded hills, on the high- 
est of which is a rustic summer-house, surrounded by the 
pines that gave the farm its name. Late in 1776 St. John's 
three children were christened in this house by Pastor Tetard, 
who had married their parents in 1769. Less than three years 



44 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

later, his New Jersey farm having been ravaged by Indians, 
and his Pine Hill farm threatened, St. John took his eldest 
boy, Ally, and set out for Normandy by way of New York, 
then held by a British garrison under Sir Henry Clinton. 

At this time St. John had been ten years married and had 
three children, all born on the Pine Hill "farm, near Cornwall, 
New York. Five years after his naturalization as a citizen of 
the colony of New York, he had married at West Chester 
Miss Mehitable Tippet, — a family name not uncommon in that 
colony then. I find in the marriage-license registers of New 
York before the Revolution the following examples of this odd 
name, variously spelled : 

"August 11, 1759, Gilbert Tippet to marry Susannah Clover; 
June 9, 1763, Philena Tippet and Ezekiel Archer; March 30, 1770, 
Martha Tippet and Anthony Gleam; July 19, 1773, Darkes (Dorcas) 
Tippet and Herman Rutgers; and finally, April 21, 1775, Sarah 
Tippey and Samuel Zeller." 

The spelling of Sarah's name probably indicates how this 
French Huguenot word was pronounced. I infer it to be 
Huguenot from the fact that Nicholas Tippet appears in Bos- 
ton about 1690, associated with Pierre Baudouin, ancestor of 
the Boston Bowdoins, a well-known French Protestant. We 
have in the Crevecoeur biography the marriage certificate of 
St. John ; he was married September 20, 1769, under the name 
of " Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crevecoeur, commonly 
called Mr. St. John," by a French Protestant minister, Jean- 
Pierre Tetard, who had been in 1764-1766 pastor of the 
French church at New York City. Soon after he was pastor 
of a French church in Charleston, South Carolina ; from 1769 
to 1776 he was again pastor in New York, and in 1777 chap- 
lain of the Fourth infantry regiment of New York State. At 
some later time he was secretary and interpreter to Chancellor 
Livingston. In 1771 he wrote to St. John from West Chester ; 
and a few years later, after the three children were born, he 
went up river to the Pine Hill farm and baptized them all. 

The bride of St. John, whether of French or English or of 
mingled descent, was born at Yonkers on the Hudson, and at 
the time of her marriage was living in Dutchess County. She 
is called by several authors " the daughter of a merchant " ; 
and Nicholas Tippet, the friend of Baudouin, the Boston 



1900.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 45 

merchant, had the same occupation, I believe. She may have 
been the granddaughter of Nicholas, since she must have been 
born between 1740 and 1750. Before marrying, St. John had 
drained a swamp of one thousand acres, so he wrote the mayor 
of Hartford in 1783; in 1767 he made a voyage to Bermuda 
and Jamaica ; and it was probably on his return that he spent 
a short time in Charleston, where his friend, Pastor Tetard, 
was then preaching. In 1770, as the legend reads on the 
aquarelle of his farmstead, he began to clear up (def richer} his 
woodlands at Pine Hill, and in the next eight years he had 
brought the farm to a high state of cultivation, — not so re- 
markable as the farms of his prosperous neighbor, Colonel 
Woodhull, already mentioned, but so that the product of it, 
with his resources as land surveyor, supported him comfort- 
ably and allowed ■ him to travel considerably. Whether he 
actually visited all the places which his American Letters de- 
scribe, is doubtful ; he was a born journalist, and understood 
the art of speaking of a place as if it were before his eyes, when 
he might in fact be hundreds of miles away. He practised 
several harmless but perplexing artifices. In his London edi- 
tions he described himself as the son of an emigrant Calvinist 
from England, living in Pennsylvania, where, no doubt, he did 
live for a time before 1764, as a land surveyor, but never after- 
wards, though he visited there. It is probable that his " Voy- 
age dans la Haute Pennsylvanie " was never really made as 
he describes it. His biographer, speaking of his first book, 
says : — 

" He did not wish to reveal his nationality in a work originally pub- 
lished in England before the peace with America. An English clergy- 
man, Samuel Ayscough of the British Museum, published a pamphlet in 
1783, taking St. John to task for his ruse ; pointing out ' the pernicious 
tendency of these letters in Great Britain ' (by encouraging emigration 
to a hostile land) and reproaching St. John for styling himself Amer- 
ican born, the son of a Scotch Puritan, although everybody knew he 
was born in Normandy." 

It is probable that he did spend some weeks in 1772 among 
the Quakers and whale-fishers and candle-makers of Nantucket 
and Martha's Vineyard, as he professes to have done. That 
he was ever in Boston before 1784 is uncertain; yet if he had 
seen the Kennebec valley he must have passed through Boston, 



46 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

going or returning. With New York and Philadelphia he was 
very familiar. As already stated, his American Farmer's 
Letters were originally written in English, and in his hazard- 
ous journey to England and France in 1780-1781, he carried 
with him three folio volumes of his English writings, more 
than half of which were never published in English, but 
are now partly destroyed, and partly preserved in French 
translations. 

In setting forth from his Orange County farm in 1779, 
St. John had first to obtain a safe-conduct from General 
McDougal, the American commander above West Point, and 
then a similar pass from Sir Henry Clinton at New York City, 
garrisoned then and for four years longer by British forces. 
His plan was to pass as a neutral or loyalist in an English ship 
to England, and thence in some way to Normandy, where his 
presence seems to have been desired for family reasons. Prob- 
ably he had been a neutral in the conflict, as so many of his 
Quaker friends were, until the French alliance of 1778 turned 
him into an ardent American patriot. Although he had little 
difficulty in getting into New York, where he had English 
friends, he was soon arrested and imprisoned as a French 
spy, and had to remain within the English lines about New 
York until some time in 1780. At last lie was allowed to 
set sail with his boy and his manuscripts for London. But 
he was shipwrecked (as he says) on the coast of Ireland, and 
passed the winter of 1780-1781 in that island. In the late 
winter or early spring he passed over into England, where he 
doubtless had friends, either of his youth, or such as he had 
become acquainted with in his colonial wanderings. He 
readily found a publisher for his first series of ''Letters," and 
before they actually came out in London he had contrived to 
cross over to Ostend, a neutral port, and thence found his way, 
in August, 1781, to Caen and Pierpont, to revisit his aged 
father, the Marquis de Crevecceur. Hardly had he got there 
when he encountered on the coast of Normandy five Massa- 
chusetts naval officers, who had escaped from prison in Eng- 
land, captured an open boat, and sailed across the Channel to 
France. They spoke no French, had little or no money, and 
might easily come to grief, even in the country of our good 
allies. St. John heard their story, took them to his father's 
house, and afterwards to comfortable quarters in Caen, whence, 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 47 

by the help of Dr. Franklin, then residing in high favor near 
Paris, they were sent home to Boston and Newbury port. One 
of them, Lieutenant George Little, said he had a kinsman in 
Boston, Captain Gustavus Fellowes, who would undertake to 
look after the wife and two children of St. John, whom he had 
left in comfort at Pine Hill, but of whose condition he had 
heard nothing since sailing from New York a year before. 
Accordingly, St. John wrote a letter to Captain Fellowes (Sep- 
tember 29, 1781) enclosing money, and asking the Boston 
merchant (for such he was) to give him news of his little 
family on the banks of the Hudson. Captain Fellowes attended 
to the request, as will be seen ; but by a succession of acci- 
dents it was more than two years before the anxious father, 
landing at New York as French consul, in November, 1783, 
heard the interesting story now to be related. 

Gustavus Fellowes, of Boston, was the son of a Cape Ann sea- 
captain, and had himself commanded and owned vessels sailing 
-out of Boston. He was born in 1736, a year after St. John, 
and had two brothers, Cornelius and Nathaniel, " mariner- 
merchants " and afterwards coffee-planters in Cuba. During 
the period of early prosperity following the depression caused 
by the Boston Port Bill and the ensuing siege of Boston and 
War of the Revolution, these brothers were among the wealth- 
iest Boston merchants. Gustavus was married in 1768 to Sarah, 
daughter of James Pierpont, who survived him until April, 
1828. Both husband and wife are buried in the Davis-May 
tomb on Boston Common, — their eldest daughter, Abigail, 
named for a relative, Abigail Davis, having married Perrin 
May (born in 1767), a rich merchant living on Washington 
Street, just north of Hollis, where he died in 1844. Gustavus 
Fellowes had five other daughters, Elizabeth, Sally, Sophia, 
Fanny, and Hannah ; and two sons, Gustavus, Jr. (born 1774, 
died 1815), and Jonathan. Of these eight children, seven 
were living in November, 1783, when the French consul at 
Boston, Letombe, called at the house on Washington Street, 
near Harvard, to see if the two children of St. John were there. 
They were, and the story of the way they happened to be 
there, as related by Captain Fellowes and M. St. John, begins 
with this letter of December 17, 1781, written by Fellowes 
to St. John, but which had crossed the Atlantic twice before 
reaching him in New York, late in 1783: 



48 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

"I received yours of September 29, 1781 by the hands of the five 
officers of our naval vessel, the ' Protector.' x Upon reading it with 
attention, your readiness to assist thern, and the important service you 
rendered them, made an impression on my mind, so deep that I at once 
took all the steps needful to gain information by letter of the state of 
your family in Orange County. My pains were fruitless, the war had 
interrupted all communication. Seeing this, I made up my mind to 
go myself to Orange County. I told my wife, who approved my plan. 
' That is no more than right,' she said, ' the family of this good fellow- 
countryman are perhaps in trouble and affliction. The Indians and the 
British, they say, have committed many ravages in that district ; my 
dear, let us do for him and his what he did for our friends on the coast 
of Normandy.' 

" A week after I left home I was lucky enough to meet, on the banks 
of the Hudson, the sheriff of Orange County (Jesse Woodhull, Esq.), 
who, as Colonel of militia, occupied with his regiment the post at Fish- 
kill. Your letter, which I handed him, was the first from you he had 
received since you left the British prison in New York. He asked 
fifty questions about you and Ally, the state of your family, your mis- 
fortunes, etc. I soon learned the death of your wife and the sad state 
of your children by reason of the raid of the savages, and the scarcity 
of food that followed. I thrilled with horror at the news, and instantly 
determined to bring them away from that unfortunate region, carry 
them to Boston, and bring them up with my own children. 

" Fortunately the snow was deep and the roads well trodden. The 
sheriff approved my purpose ; he said : ' You cannot render a greater 
service to my old friend and good neighbor, St. John. The Indians 
and the war have broken up all our schools, and the Lord knows how 
we shall instruct our children.' From that moment I only busied my- 
self with the means of carrying them to Boston as comfortably as pos- 
sible, and particularly to clothe them warmly. Happily my wife had 
provided for that before I started ; for everything was so out of order 
that I could not have found, in the whole county of Orange, either 
woollen stuffs or suitable flannels. 

" Since they have been with us we have taken the same care of them 

1 These were the escaped prisoners whom St. John had aided, the August 
before, in his native Normandy. Their names may be found in the list of sailors 
of the Revolution, published by the State. These facts are briefly given by R. 
St. John de Crevecoeur, in his biography, of 1883, entitled ' St. John de Crevecoeur, 
sa Vie et ses Ouvrages (1735-1813) avec les Portraits de Crevecoeur et de la Com- 
tesse D'Houdetot. Paris, Librairie des Bibliophiles, Rue Saint-Honore, 338.' 
The portraits are in profile, representing St. John in 1786, at the age of fifty-one, 
and Madame d'Houdetot at the age of fifty-six. The book is out of the market, 
and copies now can be had only by favor of the author's family (a widow and 
children), living at 120 Rue de Longchamp, Paris. 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 49 

as of our own. They are good children, and we have fortunately a boy 
and girl of their ages, with whom they live on the best of terms. I 
make no distinction between them, either in dress or education, except 
that we often give the preference to your children, as having more need 
of it, and being more unfortunate. My wife and I receive them as if they 
were children we had lost and recovered ; if I were so unfortunate as 
never to see or hear of you, we should treat them and educate them as 
our own. Not knowing what religious principles you had given them, I 
take them to church with my family, and they offer to God the same 
worship that we do. If you receive this, you must tell us your wishes 
on this point, — we shall conform to them with pleasure. 

" Before leaving Sheriff Woodhull, who took me to his home, I in- 
quired what had been the expenses of your children since the death of 
their mother, and offered to put 40 guineas in his hands. He would 
not take it, and said that the sale of some cattle and horses, that had 
escaped the plunderers, had brought money enough to pay for their sup- 
port, which, in fact, judging by the poor condition in which I found 
them, could not have cost much. As to your plantation and outlands, I 
advised him never to allow their sale without getting your consent. I 
received the amount of your bill of exchange, and shall use it for the 
good of your children. I will send you a copy of this letter by all 
opportunities until I get a reply from you." 

When Sir Fowell Buxton was seeking the aid of the British 
Government for a philanthropic enterprise in Africa, and found 
a cold reception, while his kinsmen, the Quaker Gurneys, gave 
him large financial aid, he said, " I found in Downing Street 
princes who were stingy merchants, but in London City I 
found merchants who were princes." The combination in Mr. 
Fellowes, as shown by this transaction, of the exactness of the 
merchant and the generosity of the prince, is very striking, and 
makes us wish to know more of a Bostonian who behaved so 
handsomely. 

Thirty years ago a granddaughter of Gustavus Fellowes, in 
a little book published at New York by the firm of Hurd and 
Houghton ("Fannie St. John, a Romantic Incident of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, by Emily Pierpont Delesdernier, author of 
' Hortense,' " etc.) undertook to give the world this knowledge. 
About 1758, at the age of twenty-one, Gustavus Fellowes was 
master and part owner of a vessel in which he made merchant 
voyages from Boston to England. He accumulated property, 
built vessels as well as sailed them, and when the Revolution 
came on, took the side of the Colonies very warmly. He re- 

7 



50 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

fused in 1773 to take on board a cargo of tea which was to be 
shipped from England, to pay the hated tea-tax at Boston ; and 
which finally found its way into Boston Harbor, under the 
direction of Samuel Adams and John Hancock. He and his 
brother Cornelius married two cousins, Hannah, daughter of 
Robert Pierpont, and Sarah, daughter of James Pierpont and 
Sarah Dorr. The former was the adoptive mother of Fanny 
St. John ; their house was at the corner of Harvard Street. 
Fanny told her father in March, 1784, this story : — 

" It was time, Father, that Providence should begin to show favor to 
my little brother Lewis and me. When Mr. Fellowes got to West 
Chester, we had neither shoes nor stockings, and were almost naked ; 
the weather was getting cold, and the other children of the neighbor- 
hood were in the same condition. My little brother, five years old, 
being younger, did not feel so much the misery of our lot, though he 
cried a good deal ; but I, who remembered well your tender care and 
that of poor mother, — how I did grieve when I thought of that, and it 
was often ! J. D. and his wife, not knowing who this stranger was 
that came to take us away, did all they could to persuade us to stay 
with them, and tried to alarm little brother, who began to -cry and say 
' I don't want to go with that man ! ' Mr. Fellowes was obliged to take 
by force from the arms of Mrs. D. Philip Lewis, crying hard, — and she 
crying, too. I said to them, ' We cannot be worse off than we are ; why 
should you wish to keep us ? You have nothing to give us ; scarcely 
can you supply your own wants. This man has come such a long way, 
that he must wish us well ; perhaps God sent him.' I remember this, 
too ; I got into this stranger's sleigh with the greatest eagerness, for it 
would carry me away from the place where I lost my mother, and had 
suffered so many hardships. O Father, you don't know how good and 
warm were the clothes that this man, whom God sent, brought with 
him ! I thrilled with joy when I put them on. I heard afterward that 
his dear wife, my tender mother by adoption, who must have been in- 
spired by Heaven, gave him the idea. You could not have been more 
kind, yourself, than this good man was, in our whole journey. When 
we had to cross a big river on the ice, which he knew gave me a great 
fright, he always told us some pretty story, to occupy our minds and 
shorten the time. When we got to Hartford, some of his friends there 
asked him what he had got in his sleigh. ' Two children,' he re- 
plied, ' that I had lost and have just recovered. I am taking them to 
Boston and my wife will soon make them forget all they have suffered. 
We have seven children there now, and these two little lost sheep will 
make nine.' That was just what he said. 

"In Boston how I enjoyed being pitied, warmly clothed, having 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CKEVECCEUR. 51 

something to eat when I was hungry, and especially not to fear that the 
Indians would come ! Lewis began to laugh as soon as he got here. I 
scolded him well for having cried at Chester, and for wanting to stay 
there. They put me to sleep the first night with Abigail, the oldest 
daughter, who was near my age. She is politeness and gentleness 
itself, and I love her like my own sister. They put Lewis to bed with 
little Gustavus, who is only five months older. The next morning 
Mrs. Fellowes combed our hair and put on clothes like those of the 
others, and when we had got rested, we were all sent to school together. 
Not only did she wash and dress us herself every morning, but she had 
us sit by her at the table, and gave us the best that there was, for she 
said, ' These poor children have had so hard a time that they must have 
more care than our own.' When she went visiting she often took me 
rather than my good sister Abby — especially if we were going to sail 
in the Harbor, or go to Castle Island, or Roxbury, Cambridge, Dor- 
chester or Jamaica Plains. Abby, who is goodness itself, would often 
say, ' Yes, mother, take Fanny with you ; I shall like to stay at home 
and care for the little ones ; she has more need to have a good time than 
I have.' When I grew bigger I refused this preference, and we now 
take turns in going out, or go together, often. Then, too, I have 
become useful to mother, — for a year and a half I help her every 
morning, along with Abby, to wash and dress the younger children, and 
send them to school. She has taught me to sew, knit, and spin ; to 
mend clothes, make bread, and do a little cooking. She had a baby 
eight months ago, and I was the godmother of the little girl, to whom 
they gave my name. They gave it also to a whaleship, Fanny, that 
sailed two months ago for Brazil. Oh, I hope she will come back well 
laden with oil ! When little Fanny is weaned I expect to have the 
whole care of her, and have her sleep with me, so that she shall be no 
more trouble to her mother. I want you to call her your granddaughter." 

This story is related in the third volume of St. John's Frencli 
edition of his " Letters of an American' Farmer " (Paris, 1787) 
and is confirmed from other sources. After listening to Fanny 
he takes up the tale and quotes himself as saying to Fanny 
(really to his readers) : — 

"Can all this be true? Are all these things possible? this long 
series of generosities, kindnesses, hospitality, seems more like a miracle 
than the common course of affairs. It comes from a protecting, in- 
visible power. If frail humanity could ascend to the first causes of the 
events that afflict or concern us, I might tell you the origin of all this. 
It would be due to the inscrutable chance that led to the coast of Nor- 
mandy those five Americans that you saw here not long ago. Yes, all this 



52 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

is the result of that mysterious accident which drifted them across the 
English Channel, for 70 leagues, in a frail boat, only 16 feet long, with 
a poor sail and no compass, to the very place next where I was living. 
I was the one person in all that great province who could have taken a 
lively interest in their fate ; for I had come from their country, and had 
suffered several years in the same cause. If they had landed 30 miles 
farther up or farther down than Ver, quite likely I should never have 
heard of them." 

After reaching Boston in March, 1784, St. John spent some 
days there, and went to church with the Fellowes family. His 
daughter whispered to him, u I am delighted ; our neighbors 
who have so often spoken of you, and have been so glad to hear 
of your coming, will be much gratified to see us, father and 
children, come to 'worship with them ' ["An expression pe- 
culiar to Boston,' 1 says St. John in a note] and offer together 
at God's altar their prayers and thanksgiving." This reflec- 
tion, he says, was very touching. He adds: — 

" Nor was I less touched at the sort of sensation that my presence in 
the church caused; several persons turned their eyes towards me, and 
seemed to look at me with much attention. I heard some in the next 
pews say softly, ' That is Fanny's father.' And I noticed how much my 
child enjoyed this mark of public interest. What was my surprise on 
coming out of church to have Mr. Fellowes introduce me to the five 
Americans — [George Little, Alexander Story, Clement Lemon, Samuel 
Wales, and John Collins] whom I have mentioned. Learning that I 
was to be at this church, they had come there on purpose to see me. 
A crowd of citizens then came up, shook my hand and congratulated me 
on my happy return, and on finding my children in such good hands. 
* It is to your worthy fellow-citizen,' said I, ' that I owe all this, and to 
the Divine Providence which interested him in them, without having 
known their father.' Mr. Fellowes then invited the five Americans to 
dine with me." 

Is not this a pleasing picture of Boston hospitality one hun- 
dred and twenty years ago ? From one account we learn that 
Gustavus Fellowes, Jr., was a little older than Louis St. John, 
who was born October 22, 1774, at Pine Hill, near Cornwall, 
New York, and that Fanny Fellowes was born in 1782, and 
Abby in 1770. The ages, etc., of these children and of his 
own are not always very exactly given by St. John, who called 
Louis only five in 1781, though he was really seven, and says 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 53 

Fanny was but nine, when she was nearly eleven, having been 
1)01*11, as we know by the New York record, December 14, 1770. 
As I said, dates are the weak point with St. John, though he 
was an exact mathematician • he seems to have changed them 
to suit himself. From other sources we have the true dates. 
He had left his farm on the Hudson late in April, 1779, reached 
New York a few days or weeks later, was detained there, some 
of the time in prison, until September 1, 1780, when he was 
allowed to sail for England. After a voyage of six weeks he 
was shipwrecked on the Irish coast, but reached Dublin in 
October, and seems to have spent the winter there with his 
elder son, Alexander ("Ally"). In May, 1781, he was in 
London, and late in that summer he sailed for Ostend, and 
reached his paternal home in Normandy, August 2, 1781. 
August 10, Count de Houdetot wrote to Dr. Franklin recom- 
mending him as " having lost the greater part of his property 
by the present war." The 27th of August he wrote himself to 
Franklin, then in Paris, speaking of the five Americans, and say- 
ing, " As they are genteel, discreet men from the Massachu- 
setts, I have placed them in a good house and procured them 
the hospitality of the city of Caen." Later in the year, he in- 
formed Franklin, " The Americans who escaped from England 
last summer are happily embarked for Newbury, in Massachu- 
setts," where they seem to have arrived in November. 

Mme. de Houdetot had spoken of St. John to Franklin 
under the name of Crevecceur while he at that time always 
had signed himself St. John. Explaining this to Franklin 
(September 26, 1781), he said in his peculiar English: — 

" The reason of the mistake proceeds from the singularity of the 
French custom, which renders their names almost arbitrary, and often 
leads them to forget their family ones. It is in consequence of this that 
there are more alias dictios in this than in any other country in Europe. 
The name of our family is St. Jean, in English St. John — a name as 
ancient as the conquest of England by William the Bastard." 

This story has been extended beyond my first intention 
because it introduces so much testimony from a forgotten 
source to the native philanthropy of Bostonians. The Sons 
and Daughters of the Revolution and Colonial Dames, etc., 
are seeking to connect their ancestry with persons of dis- 
tinction. Gibbon said in regard to the descent of the earls of 



54 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

Denbigh from the House of Austria — a fiction now exploded 
- — and the connection of Fielding, the novelist, Avith Lord 
Denbigh : " The successors of Charles V. may disdain their 
brethren of England ; but the romance of Tom Jones will out- 
live the palace of the Eseurial." So I would say to the present 
generation : " Your distant ancestors may have been the great- 
est of centurions or the most fraudulent of Plantagenets ; but 
your true glory of descent will be to have had for ancestors 
those plain citizens of Boston, to whom no good cause ever 
appealed in vain, and who gave away their money with a 
generosity as natural as was the frugality and industry which 
had supplied it." 

About the time of Fanny St. John's marriage in New York 
to M. Otto (the German diplomatist, who had been brought to 
this country by Luzerne, as a secretary of the French legation), 
that is, in 1790, Gustavus Fellowes experienced reverses in 
business, sold his fine estate on Harvard and Washington 
Streets, and removed to Machias in Maine. There he engaged 
in the Labrador fisheries (having formerly been interested in 
whale-fishing), and remained in Machias some years. At the 
request of his wealthier brother, Nathaniel Fellowes, who 
owned rich plantations in Cuba, he returned to Boston, and for 
a time the two brothers lived together in Roxbury. About 
1805 Nathaniel died in Cuba, and there was a dispute over his 
property, in consequence of the production of a will made in 
Cuba, which differed materially from the one he had left in Bos- 
ton. The Spanish will was eventually followed ; but some com- 
promise seems to have been made by which his grandchildren, 
by his daughter, Mrs. Jonathan Amory, received the income of 
his Boston property, while that in Cuba, consisting of planta- 
tions, sugar-mills, etc., and valued in 180G at $350,000, went 
to his nephew residing in Cuba. Gustavus Fellowes received 
little or nothing, and the fortunes of that branch of the family 
were never restored. During their residence at Machias an 
acquaintance seems to have been formed between the Fellowes 
family and that of Captain Delesdernier, a Swiss officer in the 
Revolution, who had established himself in eastern Maine. 
This led ultimately to the marriage of one of the adopted 
sisters of Fanny St. John to Louis F. Delesdernier ; Miss 
Emily was their daughter, and thus the granddaughter of 
Gustavus Fellowes, of whom her little book gives a glowing 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CEEVECCEUK. b5 

account. He spent the later years of his life at a house in 
Hollis Street, Boston, and is described by her as 

"a man of most dignified appearance and address. His abundant 
hair was silvery white, and lay in close curls all over the noble head 
and around the high, intellectual brow. He had dark eyes of peculiar 
brilliancy, and on his cheeks there was the ruddy glow of health to the 
last." 

He sleeps, as mentioned, in the old burying-ground at the 
foot of the Common on Boylston Street, in the Davis-May 
tomb. One of his daughters had married, in the May family, 
a cousin of Mrs. Alcott, the mother of Louisa Alcott. 

The family of Miss De Lesdernier (as Albert Gallatin spelt 
the Swiss name) deserves a brief mention. Its founder in 
America was a colonist of Nova Scotia, who in 1780 had five 
sons, born there or in Geneva. One of these, Louis Frederic 
(born in 1751), had engaged in a plan to capture a Brit- 
ish, fort akthe head of the Bay of Fundy ; failing in which, he 
was compelled to flee to Machias, where Colonel John Allan 
commanded a small fort for Massachusetts. In May, 1777, 
Allan made Lesdernier his secretary, with the rank of lieuten- 
ant in the Revolutionary Army. He was soon after captured 
by the British and carried into Halifax, where he remained 
a prisoner until exchanged, at some time before September, 
1780. At that time young Gallatin, with his friend Henri 
Serre, found Louis Lesdernier living in one of the four or five 
log-houses of a clearing near Colonel Allan's fort at Machias ; 
began to live with him there, and to engage in trade. They 
had met his mother at a French coffee-house in Boston, and 
in consequence of this acquaintance had come to Machias. 
They had left Geneva secretly in April, 1780, landed at 
Gloucester in July, from a New England vessel sailing out 
of L'Orient in France, and at once proceeded to Boston, and 
repaired to the coffee-house of M. Tahon, in North Street, 
where they found Mme. Lesdernier. Gallatin, who was only 
nineteen, enjoyed the wild life in Maine, and remained more 
than a year, trading with Indians, campaigning a little, and 
canoeing a good deal. Serre, writing to their friend Badollet 
in Geneva, said : — 

"We are here in Machias, five Genevans in all, men and women. 
True, three of them were born in America, but they have preserved the 



56 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

republican spirit of their ancestors, and M. Lesdernier junior, born in 
America of a Genevese father, is the most zealous of all the Americans 
I have seen for the liberty of his country. We live in the forest beside 
a river; we can hunt, fish, and either bathe or skate according to the 
season. Just now we are roasting ducks before a wood-fire, — and we 
cut the wood ourselves. In Geneva, as you know, we sail in boats on 
the Lake ; here I have more fun, guiding the Indian canoes. They are 
made of birch bark, and with one or two inside they go charmingly. 
Every small stream has water enough for them ; you can lie down as in 
bed, and paddle them at your ease. Going down a tiny river, in superb 
weather, reclining in the canoe, on a blanket, I could see the meadow 
but two feet away. , Indeed there was so little water that I seemed to 
glide over grass and reeds. Come out next summer and take a hand 
with me in paddling a canoe ! We will go up the St. John and the 
St. Lawrence, and visit Canada." 

In fact they did go to Passamaquoddy, now Eastport, where 
Lesdernier was afterwards postmaster and collector of the 
port ; and they helped him cut hay " on Frost's meadow, near 
Boyden's Lake." 

Gallatin went away in October, 1781, and the next } r ear was 
teaching French to students in Harvard College. This place 
was procured for him by Dr. Bentley of Salem. From there 
he went to Virginia and Pennsylvania, and at the age of forty 
was Secretary of the Treasury under President Jefferson. 
Lesdernier remained at Eastport, to which he had migrated, 
and in due time married the Widow Clarke, a daughter of 
Gustavus Fellowes, then of Machias, and was the father of Miss 
Emily, who wrote "Fannie St. John." His son, William 
Delesdernier, a contemporary of my cousin, Benjamin Leavitt 
of Eastport, was a Democratic politician, and sheriff of Wash- 
ington County ; and two of his sons, Lewis Frederick of Texas, 
and another, served in the Confederate navy and army during 
the Civil War. The grandfather was living in 1834, but died 
about that time in Calais, Maine. 

Like his benefactor, Gustavus Fellowes, St. John found 
Fortune rather fickle. On his return to France in 1781, after 
so many trials, he had a few years of good fortune. His family 
friends took him up warmly, and introduced him in good com- 
pany, of which at first he was rather shy, from his forgetful- 
ness of his native French. That knowledge soon came back 
to him, and his book had such success in England that St. John 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 57 

became a lion. He preferred to live in America, and his 
friends at court, Beauvau, d'Harcourt, Condorcet, etc., were 
able to procure for him the important office of French consul 
at New York, to which post he came back late in 1783, just 
before the British army finally evacuated New York. He 
found there, among a mass of letters, that one from Mr. Fel- 
lowes above quoted, which had gone to England on its way to 
France and come back to New York without finding St. John. 
His friends in the city told him of his wife's death ; but he was 
unable to go on to Boston to look up his children till March, 
1784, when he had been almost five years separated from them. 
He then resumed his active habits, — visited Boston, New 
Haven, the upper Hudson, Philadelphia, and the newer settle- 
ments of Pennsylvania, and the fast-growing State of Vermont, 
not yet recognized as a member of the Union. Through his 
friend and correspondent, Ethan Allen, he procured the naming 
of Vermont towns, — Vergennes for the French minister, St. 
Johnsbury for himself, and Danville for his friend D'Anville- 
He probably drew the device for the escutcheon of Vermont, 
and gave its French name to the Green Mountain State. His 
French friends and his daughter Fanny in 1784-1785 became 
citizens of New Haven. 

This mark of honor shown by the good people of Connecti- 
cut to French notables for whom they had only the word of 
St. John, excited some ridicule and some wrath in Paris, when 
it became public there ; and St. John took pains to make it 
known. The private Memoirs of Bachaumont, then a person 
of note, contain a pretended letter from New Haven, perhaps 
fabricated in Paris, which said : — 

" The joke of this collection of names is that none of these persons 
is known here in New Haven, except by name. It is a shocking in- 
gratitude to have preferred these titled aristocrats to our real benefac- 
tors, Leray de Chaumont, Montyon, Beaumarchais and the principal 
financiers of Bordeaux, Nantes and other French seaports, who were 
the first and real authors of our glory and liberty, by furnishing us 
supplies and weapons." 

There was some truth in this. The incident shows, among 
other things, how much such empty honors were then valued 
in France, as coming from the idealized republic of Franklin, 
Jefferson, and Washington. Franklin had been replaced in 



58 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

France as American ambassador by Jefferson when St. John, 
returning from his consulship, landed at L' Orient in July, 1785, 
and Jefferson became, as Franklin had been, one of the inti- 
mates of the Countess de Houdetot, and a correspondent of St. 
John. But an early occupation of the returned French consul 
was to prepare a third volume of his popular " Letters." The 
two French volumes of 1784 had sold so well that a new edi- 
tion was called for; and another volume could be ventured. 
Writing to his son Ally (November 13, 1785) and telling him 
this, St. John said: "I shall put into it several useful things; 
and I depend on narrating the unhappy adventures of your 
sister Fanny and your brother Louis, together with the won- 
derful story of the assistance which Mr. Fellowes gave them." 
This is the passage just recited. But he also went into soci- 
ety a great deal, visiting his dukes and countesses, and dining 
often with Jefferson at the legation in Paris. Brissot de War- 
ville, however, at that time a warm friend of St. John, stirred 
up a quarrel between him and the Marquis de Chastellux, who 
had travelled in America, and did not think so well of the 
Quakers as St. John did. As Chastellux was an intimate of 
St. John's titled friends, this was an annoyance that shows its 
traces in a letter from Jefferson to St. John (December 8, 1786), 
which also indicates the terms on which they then were : — 

" I have just done reading the New York newspapers, and send them 
to you, herewith. When you have done with them, I will thank you to 
return them, as Mr. Short has not read them. M. Marmontel and 
Madame are coming to dine with me day after to-morrow (Sunday), and 
I hope the good Countess D' Houdetot will be disengaged that day, 
and will be good enough to come too. We dine at 3 o'clock. I hardly 
dare to ask you, too, because a person (Philip Mazzei) is likely to 
come with the Marmontels, who is, I believe, disagreeable to you. 
Nevertheless you are the best judge of that, and you know I shall 
be happy to see you, if the company suits you. Will you be good 
enough to transmit my invitation to the Countess, and let me know her 
answer?" 

From a paper of my friend Mr. S. O. Todd, of St. Johnsbury, 
Vermont, I extract this: 

"A favored residence of the countess was at Sannois, a few miles 
from Paris; there on the 12th of April, 1781, she and her friends 
had received that sage American, Benjamin Franklin, with unex- 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 59 

pected civilities. Mme. d'Houdetot and her party walked a half- 
mile from her Sannois chateau to meet the American statesman and 
philosopher, and the countess greeted him with a verse of her own 
composition. At an elaborate dinner, toasts, seven in number, were 
given in Franklin's honor, by the countess and others. A prolongation 
of festivities included in the afternoon the planting by Franklin in the 
garden of the chateau, of a Virginia locust. A poetic effusion by the 
countess for this ceremony was afterward engraved upon a marble 
column close at hand. On his return to America the countess wrote 
to Franklin: 'Think of me sometimes, of Sannois, and the revered 
tree planted by your hands, which grows on soil belonging to me. I 
preserve the memory of those moments you have so kindly passed 
here, and with tender interest I cultivate the memorial you have left 
of your transit.' " 

It was in this same year, 1781, that St. John de Crevecoeur 
arrived in France and had awakened the interest of Mme. 
de Houdetot, who continued to be his good friend till her 
death, a few months only before his own. After her death 
he paid a grateful tribute to her. Of her literary character 
he said : — 

" The mind and memory of Mme. d'Houdetot, enriched by constant 
reading of the best authors, and frequent conversations with one and 
another of her learned friends, (Marmontel, d'Alembert, etc.,) fur- 
nished to her conversation a limitless and inextinguishable flow of ideas 
which made it instructive and delightful. To this talent she united a 
perfect knowledge of the vernacular, a taste and judgment which nearly 
approached infallibility. This is why she was so often consulted by 
young authors. Florian, the amiable Florian, one of the most intimate 
of her friends, did not publish a book, not even a fable, until he had 
submitted the manuscript to the wise criticism of Mme. d'Houdetot. 
Removed, by taste and principle, from all tendency to malevolence, 
she never had an enemy. I have often heard her say that the only 
way to avoid satire and malicious gossip was never to merit them. 
Her silence toward those who had been indiscreet or reprehensible, 
was not less remarkable than her talent for praising, appreciating, and 
getting others to esteem all worthy action." 

Upon St. John's return to New York, early in 1787, this 
amiable Countess said to him, a few days before he left her 
country house at Sannois for L' Orient : — 

" My friend, you are leaving your two dear boys here, and you know 
my fondness for these young sufferers by the calamities of war. From 



60 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

now until you come back, I will adopt them ; I desire they should love 
and consider me as their mamma, and hope they will call me by that 
name, We shall correspond frequently. Every Thursday I will take 
them to dine with Mr. Jefferson ; every Sunday he and your boys shall 
dine with me ; when convenient I will take them to the theatre. They 
are at school, but they shall spend all their vacations with me, whether 
I remain here at Sannois, or go to the Marais or to Mereville." 

She kept her word, and was most gratefully remembered by 
St. John. 1 

Like this famous woman, St. John was very faithful in his 
friendships. He had received many civilities (and no doubt 
his fortunes had been advanced) at the hands of the Penn- 
sylvania Quakers, of whom he always spoke well. They were 
quite in the way of being Tories during the Revolution, — at 
least the older Quakers, — and Brissot, when he turned against 
his friend St. John, accused him of having been a Tory too 
and very much afraid that secret would be revealed to his 
American friends. Probably he did not at first take sides 
with the patriots ; but after the defeat of Burgoyne was 
followed by the French alliance, he left no doubt on which 
side his sympathies were. His long sojourn at Nantucket, 
where the Quakers were averse to the approaching war, gives 
color to the story that he hoped for a peaceful solution of the 
quarrel, as many of the good patriots did. In the French 
edition of the " Letters " he has some anecdotes of the Penn- 
sylvania and Delaware Quakers which do not appear in the 
English book. One of his chapters has much to say of Walter 
Mifflin and the Vinings of Delaware, and of that illustrious 
Quaker of French parentage, Anthony Benezet, one of the 
first abolitionists in America. St. John brings out the fact 
that it was Benezet and his friend Warner Mifflin who first 
moved actively in Virginia and Pennsylvania for the abolition 
of slavery and the discontinuance of the slave trade. A life 

1 Portraits of the St. Johns. In April, 1786, St. John, being in Paris, wrote to 
his son Ally at Caen : " Poree, my father's valet, on his way to Pierpont, by 
way of Caen, will carry you a paper-box which contains a portrait of the kind 
Countess (Houdetot), one of Fanny, of Mr. Fellowes, and of your papa." Of 
these the first and last survive, and are engraved in Robert St. John's life of his 
ancestor. They are profile sketches in black chalk, finished in pastel. On the 
backs of the frames are these English names, written by St. John : " The right 
honorable lady Sophia, comtesse de Houdetot," and " Saint John de Crevecoeur, 
your father." Perhaps the other two have not disappeared. 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 61 

of Warner Mifflin, published at Philadelphia in 1905, by Miss 
Hilda Justice, his descendant, gives St. John's account of 
Mifflin's mission to Howe and Washington. Basing upon this 
narrative of St. John his plot of " The Quaker," Kotzebue, 
the prolific German playwright, took Mifflin for his hero. This 
one-act drama has been translated by Miss Amelia Gummere, 
and published in the " Pennsylvania Magazine " of October, 
1905. This Mifflin was the first cousin of General Mifflin of the 
Revolutionary Army. He was one of a committee sent by the 
Quakers of Delaware (1777), about the time of the battle of 
Germantown, to persuade Sir William Howe and General 
Washington to declare an armistice in the region of the Dela- 
ware River, and abate the horrors of war, which were then 
excessive in that neighborhood. St. John quotes Warner 
Mifflin as saying this to " Friend William Howe " : — 

•"Being English, perhaps you know that the Society of Friends 
never takes part in wars, nor in disputes public or private. The 
Gospel forbids us, by enjoining us to view all men as our brothers. At 
the same time that it recommends peace and fraternity among ourselves, 
it bids us do what we can to anticipate and prevent evil. Our brethren 
of Delaware, in our Meeting for Sufferings, have thought it possible to 
procure an interview between thee and Friend George Washington, 
which might bring about an armistice, at least during winter ; and that 
such an armistice might lead to a good understanding and eventually to 
peace. Believing this to be a sound and useful idea, inspired by the 
Spirit, whence come all our good thoughts, as well as any good we may 
do, I have been deputed to communicate it to you. What do you think 
of it, Friend Howe ? " 

Sir William, thus appealed to, said : — 

" I like your idea: it seems noble, and may be useful. Whether it 
succeeds or not, it does you honor, and confirms the good opinion I 
always had of your sect. I like to see those who do not take part in 
war striving to soften its horrors, and taking measures to restore peace. 
But the case is not the same with General Washington and myself. 
He can take the orders of Congress within four days, but I must have 
some months to get those of my king. However, if an interview is 
possible, I will gladly welcome a short armistice, to give my troops 
time to rest and enjoy a little vacation." 

For this reason, probably, Congress did not order the armistice, 
but the purpose of the Quakers was respected by both sides. 



62 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

Brissot de Warville took the same view of the Quakers that 
St. John did at first, praising them for their hatred of tyranny 
and their love of free speech. But later Brissot rather failed 
to support St. John in his American experiences, as also 
did Mazzei. In 1791, alluding to the conduct of the Quakers 
during the war, Brissot says : — 

" M. Crevecoeur has assured me that the Quakers were eager to 
mitigate the woes of war, and aid the prisoners at New York with 
money, food, and even with bail, when there was need of it. He has 
told me of seeing in Dutchess county, New York, some Quakers jour- 
neying in a wagon when it was very cold, going to make donations of 
food to the prisons." 

Of the general accuracy of St. John's descriptions of Amer- 
ican scenery and manners Brissot speaks in terms of praise, 
and his language shows how well known were the French 
" Letters." Arriving at New York from Boston in August, 
1788, Brissot says : — 

" I am reading again the description given by M. Crevecoeur of this 
part of the United States, and after comparing all the particulars with 
what I have yet seen, I must confess that all the strokes in the picture 
are faithful. . . . Albany is the chief town of rural New York, situ- 
ated where the Mohawk River empties into the North River. This 
valley is the region of which M. Crevecoeur has given a sketch so 
enchanting ; its rigorous winters he has transformed into a delightful 
season for men who chiefly love the pleasures of Nature." 

Here the allusion is to that remarkable picture of the com- 
ing on of winter, the scene of which he places at German 
Flats, then the chief town of Herkimer County, sixty miles 
west of Schenectady, in the Mohawk valley. It is now a part 
of the town of Herkimer, and has lost those rural features 
which so delighted St. John. His description still applies, 
however, so far as nature is concerned, to many hundred 
townships in the northeastern States. 

St. John numbered among his American friends President 
Stiles of Yale College, and describes at much length a college 
commencement there in 1784, or later, with long extracts from 
an address or sermon by Dr. Stiles, who had gone from the 
same wealthy parish in New Hampshire to the president's 
chair at New Haven, which Dr. Langdon had quitted with 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECGEUB. 63 

regret, a few years earlier, to sacrifice his health and peace of 
mind in the squabbles of Harvard College, only to be repaid 
with insolence, neglect, and an unsettled bill of expenses. 
Dr. Stiles was more fortunate. I find in the third volume 
of his recently published ik Literary Diary " (p. 150) this 
entry : — 

"March 1, 1785; I drafted a diploma of the Freedom of the City 
[New Haven] for M. Michael St. John de Crevecceur, Consul of France 
for Connecticut, N. York and New Jersey." 

To this in a note is added : — 

" A letter from this gentleman is preserved among Dr. Stiles's 
papers, as follows : — 

New York, 8th June, 1785. 

Mr. President : — A second French edition of the 2 vols, of ye 
American Farmer's Letters being on the eve of appearing, I am ear- 
nestly desired by the editor of that work, which has had the Good For- 
tune of Pleasing the Publick ; & he would think himself very much 
obliged to you, if you 'd think proper to communicate to him some 
anecdotes of ye Late War, — by Anecdotes the Editor Means, Un- 
common Instances of Bravery, Resignation, Patience, Courage, — 
Cruelty on the Part of our Ennemies, or any other Characteristics 
of the Violence of the War, & of the brave Resistance of the 
Americans. 

They would be not less interesting were they on some Natural Sub- 
ject ; but such is the high Esteem and Veneration the Editor of that 
Work has for the President of Yale College, that with Great Pleasure 
he leaves to you the Nature and Choice of these anecdotes which would 
appear with your name if not disagreeable to you. I am very sure 
that was this subject Introduced among your Friends, a Great number 
of Curious & Interesting Facts would be mentioned which it wou'd be 
a Great Pity to loose & to see sunk in oblivion. The late revolution 
is an object so Interesting to humanity in General, that not the least 
Feature of it ought to be lost. Receive therefore kindly this Request 
of the Editor abovementioned & deign to contribute to the Greater Per- 
fection of that work by communicating to him whatever may have come 
to your knowledge or to that of your Friends. 

I believe I shall sail from here ere I have received the Diplomas you 
have so Generously contributed to Procure — but if they are sent to 
Col. Burr or to my office No. 202 Queen Street, they will be forwarded 
to me in Normandy. Depend on my Zeal to Procure for your College 
such Proofs of these Good & Great People's gratitude as will be ade- 



64 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

quate to the Favor & Honor conferred on them by the City of New- 
Haven. 

Wishing you & the College at the head of which you so worthily 
Preside every degree of Prosperity I take my leave of you : Receive 
kindly this Mark of the high Esteem and unfeigned Respect wherewith 
I subscribe Myself Sir Your Very Humble Serv't 

St. John. 

Mr. Dexter, Stiles's editor, adds in a note : " The edition 
referred to was published at Paris in 1787, but did not con- 
tain any contribution from Dr. Stiles." About fifty anecdotes 
are in it, and some of them date from New Haven. Dr. Stiles 
wrote the diplomas, and they were so complimentary to 
St. John (who had procured the same honor for Mme. de Hou- 
detot and her friend St. Lambert, etc.) that in translating 
them for his son Louis he left out much of the praise. The 
particular work he had done for New Haven was in regard to 
a botanic garden, — which apparently Colonel Jesse Wood- 
hull's brother Richard (discharged in 1765 from the faculty 
of Yale for the high crime of being a Sandemanian) already 
had in that city. These diplomas are probably still in the 
records of New Haven. Fanny St. John, as already men- 
tioned, was made a Citoyenne of New Haven at the age 
of fifteen ! She was still at the house of Mr. Fellowes in 
Boston, where she remained till her father returned from 
France in 1787 ; and she saw a great fire there, near her 
protector's house, which made her ill, — so narrowly did the 
Fellowes family escape burning out. 

St. John's letter to President Stiles shows how much he 
valued his slight connection with the American Revolution, 
many episodes of which appear or are the subject of allusion 
and disquisition in his six French volumes. 

It is surprising that nearly all the American comment on St. 
John, as a writer, thinker, and observer, should be based wholly 
on the imperfect first volume of his " Letters" published in Eng- 
land in 1782, under circumstances that restricted his expres- 
sion of regard for the revolted Colonies, not yet acknowledged 
by George III. as independent States. This English edition, 
though somewhat improved in the revision of 1783, had in 
fact little more than a third part of the contents of his final 
French edition of 1787. It contains less than 100,000 words, 
whereas the French edition has 280,000. If to this we add the 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 65 

contents of the three volumes of 1801, we shall find that 
St. John published in French about five times as much as in 
English ; and an examination of his six volumes will show that 
their contents are a far more valuable contribution to Ameri- 
can history, topography, and social condition, from 1757 to 
1800, than any other contemporary author has left us. Their 
maps and engravings are well drawn and engraved, their infor- 
mation is generally accurate, except in the matter of dates, 
and they supply facts for which the newspapers and public 
documents of the period might be searched in vain. A curious 
interest attaches to the vignettes in the three volumes of 1787. 
They are circular, like medals, and may have been designed 
for such. In the second volume France, helmeted and armed 
like Pallas, wields her spear, and holds forth her fleur de lys 
shield, to protect America, as the infant Hercules, strangling 
the serpents, against the rampant British lion. The legend 
around the circle is Horace's line, " Non sine dis animosus in- 
fans." Below this device are the dates of the two surrenders, 
— at Saratoga, October 17, 1777, and October 19, 1781, at 
Yorktown. This is the best device of the three. The first 
volume has a funeral monument, on which are inscribed the 
names of Generals Warren, Wooster, Montgomery, and Mercer. 
Beneath the monument, outstretched on the ground, lies 
America, in Indian undress, mourning for her slain sons. 
The legend this time reads, " O, Manes Heroum, vestra libera 
est patria." In the third volume the figure is an all-seeing 
eye, from which radiate beams of light to or from thirteen 
stars, representing the new States of our Union, with the 
motto around them, " Nova Constellatio." To carry out this 
series of allegories, a frontispiece in one volume represents 
America, as a nursing mother in Indian dress, with hungry 
babes clinging about her, and the inscription below, " Ubi 
Libertas et Panis, ibi Patria." The abundance of food among 
American farmers always delighted St. John. 

St. John's life as an " American Farmer," his favorite title, 
lasted at most but seventeen years, — that is, from 1762 to 
1779; nor did he, as French consul, own or cultivate any con- 
siderable tract of land. But in his residence at New York 
City, which brought him from 1783 to 1790 into relations with 
many distinguished men, he journeyed extensively in this 
country, besides making a visit or two in France. After 1790 

9 



66 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

he never resided in this country, nor ever came to it, — al- 
though during the stormy times of the French Revolution he 
often dated his letters to his children and friends from places 
in America, for reasons of caution. His only daughter, Frances 
America (Fanny St. John), was married to M. Otto in New 
York, in April, 1790, just before her father returned to France 
for the last time. The wedding was at St. Peter's Church, 
and at the ceremony were present Jefferson of Virginia, 
Colonel Wadsworth of Hartford, and Jonathan Trumbull of 
New Haven, Judge Richard Morris and William Seaton of New 
York, and other American friends of the Farmer-Consul. 
Madame Otto, born in a log-cabin, afterwards as the Countess 
Otto moved in the best society of France, England, and Ger- 
many. Her little brother Louis, born by the Hudson in 1774, 
went with his father to France in 1784, but as a youth, to 
avoid some perils of the Reign of Terror, came back to New 
York, and lived a pioneer's life for some years in New Jersey. 
Returning to France, he became an officer in Napoleon's 
Italian army, and served through the Napoleonic wars ; then 
married, and was the grandfather of Robert St. John, who 
wrote his father's life, and is our authority for most of the 
authenticated facts thereof. Alexander and Louis St. John 
were the two boys for whom Mme. de Houdetot' took such 
pains while they were at school in France. " Ally " died early 
during the French Revolution. 

Crevecoeur had published his first volume in England, be- 
cause it was then a ready market for all books relating to 
America. Although the War of the Revolution was not ended 
and New York was still held by the British troops, it was 
well understood that there would soon be peace upon some 
conditions. Crevecoeur, in that love of mystification which 
haunted him from the first, and for which there may have 
been a reason of personal safety originally, had pretended in his 
London book to be a " farmer in Pennsylvania," though it was 
nearly twenty years since he could have really cultivated land 
there, if ever. Pouncing upon this harmless disguise, as if it 
covered a wicked purpose to injure England, Samuel Ayscough, 
a pedantic parson, with much industry of the bookworm sort, 
as already mentioned, attacked St. John in 1783, in a pamphlet 
issued by John Fielding in Paternoster Row. He said this 
among other severities: — 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CEEVECGEUR. 67 

u The peace of the literary world is again disturbed by a new species 
of forgery, imported from the Continent of America, whose emissaries 
are endeavoring to sow the same seed in this country which has been so 
much cultivated there as to produce a total dismemberment from the 
British Empire. A dismemberment of which the Americans will 
long repent; from a country which they ought to have bent every 
nerve to have encouraged and supported. A country which had been 
the means of cultivating their deserts, populating their colonies, 
providing for their necessities, defending them at the expense of 
immense treasure and blood, and disposing of the produce of their 
fields ; whilst the only advantage received in return consisted in sup- 
plying their wants with our manufactures, — in general on more 
reasonable terms than it was in the power of any other nation to 
do. . . . It is my intention to show that this ' Farmer in Pennsylva- 
nia ' was not an American born, as he pretends ; that he never was a 
farmer there ; that many things which he represents are false ; that 
others, reported as recent facts, are old stories. ... It is a fact well 
known that he is a Frenchman, born in Normandy ; that his residence 
was chiefly at New York, and there looked upon by the Loyalists as 
no friend to Englishmen. . . . The book will plainly appear to be de- 
signed for the purpose of encouraging foreigners to emigrate and settle 
in America, which he calls ' the asylum of freedom, the cradle of future 
nations, the refuge of distressed Europeans.' . . . To check as much 
as possible the fatal tendency of such publications cannot be an object 
beneath the attention of the guardians of our laws and liberties." 

There is no doubt that the effect of Crevecoeur's book, 
widely read in all western Europe, did promote emigration, 
and possibly that may have been its design. But it was rather 
in a general spirit of philanthropy, which was his most dis- 
tinguishing trait, that this generous Frenchman wrote it. He 
was himself surprised at the popularity of his " Letters," and 
thus was tempted to continue them beyond his own immediate 
observations. Even in his first book he used the researches and 
accounts of others ; and this he did more constantly in his final 
work, the " Journey in Upper Pennsylvania." 

Soon after St. John's return to New Yoik in 1787, he 
called on Washington (perhaps at Mount Vernon), and pre- 
sented him with the new three-volume edition of the French 
" Letters " ; he also sent a copy of the third volume, which was 
wholly new, to Dr. Franklin at Philadelphia, and the three 
volumes to Governor Bowdoin, then president of the American 
Academy of Arts and Sciences in Boston. These three copies 



68 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

(or at least the new volume of each) have settled in Boston, 
— Washington's copy at the Athenaeum Library; Franklin's, 
with his autograph, at the Public Library; and Bowdoin's, at 
the new home of the Academy in Newbury Street. The letters 
of St. John to Bowdoin came into the hands of his kinsman, 
Mr. Winthrop, were read by him to this Society in 1874, and 
printed in our Proceedings the next year. At that time Bow- 
doin was interested in paper mills at Milton, and in one of the 
latest of these letters (February 3, 1787) St. John mentions 
an infant invention he had seen in France which he hoped 
Bowdoin would experiment with. It was the treatment of 
various vegetable fibres chemically so as to convert them into 
good paper, — a process since brought to great perfection and 
generally introduced all over the world in the manufacture of 
wood into paper. St. John wrote : — 

" Give me leave to send you a small book, printed on a new invented 
paper made with the bark of the Tilleul, a specie of the linden ; at the 
end of which you will find also several specimens of other papers, made 
with a variety of roots, plants and barks, and three sheets with woollen 
rags. The inventor is but just beginning these useful experiments, and 
hopes to find out the art of converting into paper every specie of vege- 
table, and whitening his work with vitriolic acid. I wish these samples 
may urge your paper-makers at Milton to make some trials, which, in 
a country where rags are so scarce, cannot but be very important, either 
for pasteboard, sheathing of vessels, wrapping of sugar, etc." 

In a letter to his patron, the Due d'Harcourt, written from 
New York five months later (July 27, 1787), St. John dwells 
on the energy and opportunities of the United States in devel- 
oping manufactures. He says : — 

" The Americans are beginning to understand that it is not English 
commerce that enriches them, so much as national manufactures, such 
as are most suited to their climate and the genius of the people. Neces- 
sity, misfortune, the constant flow of gold and silver from the country 
to pay for English merchandise, have opened their eyes." 

He then goes on to extol the hardy enterprise of the New 
England and New York people in thus recovering themselves 
from the losses of the Revolutionary War. 

This is one example, out of' many, of the steady interest 
St, John took in the progress of invention. He was early 
convinced of the feasibility of steam navigation ; wrote up 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCETTR. 69 

the first efforts of that kind on the Potomac and the Delaware 
rivers, and followed Fulton in his success on the Hudson. 
Indeed, like Franklin and Jefferson, his mind seems ever to 
have been occupied with thoughts for the advancement of 
science, the arts, and the good of mankind. Upon this philan- 
thropic state of feeling the French Revolution, and its ensuing 
and long continuing wars, came like a destructive cataclysm. 
Its after effects were surprisingly good, but its first shock was 
appalling to men of heart and practical sense like St. John. 
He favored the abrogation of privilege, but abhorred the 
excesses of the Jacobins, by which many of his friends suf- 
fered death, banishment, or loss of fortune. Protected by his 
own prudence and the abilities of his son-in-law, Otto, St. John 
survived the Oidbute Generate, and lived almost to see the 
downfall of Napoleon, under whom his son, son-in-law, and 
granddaughter had taken service. Otto was sent to Munich 
by Napoleon in 1802, and his father-in-law joined him there 
in 1806, for three years. This brought him into relations with 
the artists, men of science, and philosophers of Bavaria, — a 
small kingdom, then growing in fame, and which had profited 
much by the genius and industry of a Massachusetts man, 
Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford. But St. John was then 
upwards of seventy, and inclining, with all his optimism, to 
take those dark views which are the worst discomfort of age. 
His pride was pleased by the attentions of the king, who had 
read his " American Letters" both in French and English ; but 
he disliked the manners and conversation of the nobles, and 
preferred the middle class and the people, whom he fairly 
appreciated. 

Having dealt in his first series of " Letters " chiefly with the 
scenery of the northeastern Colonies and infant States, though 
he had introduced visits to Carolina and Bermuda, St. John, 
while weathering the storms of the French Revolution, seems 
to have thought it proper, in a new series, to take up the con- 
dition, natural advantages, and social habits of the Southern 
and Western States, the Indian tribes, and Canada. He there- 
fore pieced together and began to print at Paris, in 1800, a 
new three-volume work, to which he gave the title of " A 
Journey in Upper Pennsylvania," though little of it was 
devoted to that backwoods country as he had known it. 
Probably the life of his son Louis as a pioneer in a part of 



70 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

that region may have suggested this early chapter. But pres- 
ently he turned to other topics, and told a long story about a 
Carolina planter, an old man, Mr. Bull by name, who in the 
later years of oar Revolution left his plantation for fear of the 
tories, and took to the Carolina forest, moving northward and 
avoiding the army of Cornwallis. St. John professes to have 
found him near Fincastle, in Virginia, and to have heard "from 
him the details of his gypsy life, with his family and his 
negroes, from April, 1778, to 1782, after the surrender of 
Cornwallis at Yorktown. They planted crops each year, 
hunted for game, and fed their cattle and horses on the rich 
pasturage of the bottom lands. Mr. Bull said : — 

" Alone in the midst of these vast solitudes we had for witnesses of 
our labor only the sweet, melodious meadow-lark, the jay, the chatter- 
ing boblincorn, the tufted starling, the bold king-bird, the shrill whistling 
cat-bird, and the thrushes with their gentle, harmonious notes. These 
birds, with the mock-bird, ignorant of the destructive power of man, 
were constantly about us, and seemed to view us with curiosity rather 
than terror. Every evening as soon as the sun set, great flocks of cranes 
rose slowly, in regular and majestic spirals, to a great height, as if to 
catch the last glimpse of the sun, whose rays sometimes glanced on their 
whitish wings, and met our eyes as we watched them. They soon came 
down again in the same order and as silently to the places they had 
just left. This spectacle occurred almost daily when the sky was clear, 
and lasted more than half an hour. In this lovely solitude we passed 
our first winter. I built a spacious, comfortable cabin, at the foot of one 
of the largest oaks I ever saw ; and in this my two daughters gave birth 
to the two grandsons whom you see here with me. In memory of their 
birthplace I gave them the names of Pacolet and Nawassa, the streams 
at whose confluence I had built my cabin." 

This was near the Broad River, a few miles south of North 
Carolina ; for the topography of St John is confirmed by his 
contemporary, Dr. Morse. The second winter he was near 
the headwaters of the Yadkin River ; the third near those of 
the river Dan, not far from a mountain called Ararat. In 
that region were the Carolina Moravians, at Wachovia, whose 
chief town, Salem, corresponding to Bethlehem in Pennsyl- 
vania, is still inhabited by these pious people. The old Noah 
of this modern Ararat went on to say: — 

" During the four years of my pilgrimage I think I must have trav- 
ersed 600 miles, without any of my household being ill a single day, — 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 71 

so salubrious are our mountains. It was time, however, for peace to be 
made, and our endurance, our courage and our clothes were getting worn 
out. Finally, in May, 1782, I returned to my plantation on the Saluda, 
which two old servants had not been able to protect from pillage. Great 
was their joy to see us come back in good health, and with an increase in 
the family of seven children, two white and five black, — together with 
54 young cattle." 

I wonder if the annals of South Carolina contain any record 
of this patriarchal wandering of Mr. Bull with his heifers and 
mares. Doubtless St. John found it in print somewhere, and 
translated it, along with his accounts of Hell Gate and Yale 
College, into his colloquial French. It seems that when his 
daughter Fanny was in London with her husband, who was 
negotiating the treaty of Amiens, she tried to get this book of 
her father accepted by the English trade. She wrote him 
(October 6,1800): — 

" Several booksellers here showed great eagerness to undertake a 
translation of your ' Journey into Upper Pennsylvania,' — some of 
them after only hearing the title and the author ; others after reading 
various sheets of the manuscript which we showed them. I am sorry 
to tell you, however, that they soon changed their opinion when they 
realized it was not an actual journey but a purely philosophical (ideal) 
work; which, however well written, was not of a sort to succeed in 
England." 

It was, in fact, partly real and partly ideal, but very inter- 
esting, and, I doubt not, gave Chateaubriand hints for his 
American novels, which made so much stir soon after. How- 
ever, it was never translated, and few of the Pennsylvanians, 
Virginians, and New Yorkers named in it ever read it. The 
New Haven professors ought to read the account of their 
college, and of the wonderful dinner-parties of Tutor Wood- 
hull. As an observer, St. John was quite as vivacious, if not 
always so exact as Thoreau. 

This work, prepared for publication just before Washing- 
ton's death, had been dedicated to him, then in retirement at 
Mount Vernon ; and the epistle of dedication recounted the 
various times at which the author had seen him in the ascend- 
ing steps of his noble career, — a deputy from Virginia to the 
Continental Congress of 1774, — chosen generalissimo in 1775, 
— and laying down his great command in November, 1783, just 



72 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

after St. John had returned to New York from France, as con- 
sul at the ports of New York and New Haven. This friend of 
Washington said, in a note to his first volume of the work 
published in 1801, and never yet translated: — 

" I witnessed the general joy, the outbursts of delight which were 
occasioned by his modest triumphal entrance into New York City, 
November 25, 1783. I saw his humanity towards the loyalists, whose 
arrangements for departure were not yet finished ; I admired, as so 
many did, his moderation, his affability, the wise measures he took to 
soften the bitterness of party spirit among opponents who, after a sep- 
aration of seven years, found themselves reunited. I shared with the 
citizens the sorrow, the regrets, almost the consternation which followed 
his announcement that his departure for Virginia was fixed for the 4th 
of December. I mingled with them and with the officers of his army, 
assembled there for the last farewells. Never can I forget the last 
words which he addressed to his companions in arms, from whom he 
was now to part forever ; never the impression made on me by the 
imposing dignity of his countenance, and the tone of his voice, affected 
by the emotion which he strove to suppress." 

St. John also printed in the same volume parts of the letter 
Washington wrote to him in reply to congratulations on his 
election to the presidency (April 10, 1789), saying: — 

" A combination of circumstances, a chain of events which I could 
not foresee, have made it indispensably necessary, as I find, to embark 
once more on the stormy sea of public affairs. I need not tell you how 
much this resolution is Opposed to my wishes and my dearest inclina- 
tions ; all my friends who know me are convinced of this, I trust. If 
I accept the presidency, it is with the purest intentions. I appeal to 
the great Searcher of all hearts for this ; He knows whether any object, 
the most flattering imaginable, or the enticement of any advantage, 
however seductive, or finally any desire for fame, however easy of 
attainment, would have decided me, at my age and in my condition, 
to abandon the quiet path of private life. Assuredly not ; I know too 
well what happiness is, and the price we pay for it. But if the people 
of these States believe my services can still be useful to the public, I 
will give them, since they require it. A hope of this kind can alone 
repay me for the many sacrifices I must make, in leaving my fireside, 
and abandoning my repose." 

A portion of this letter, which St. John did not print, is 
given by his biographer and descendant, showing that St. 
John had translated for Washington the favorable accounts of 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 73 

the early days of the French Revolution, with which Wash- 
ington then sympathized. He wrote to St. John at New 
York : — 

" I am truly glad to see by the translations you have been good 
enough to send me, that a profound change is taking place in the politi- 
cal opinions of the French people. It would seem that the American 
Revolution — or else the enlightenment peculiar to this age of the 
world — has opened the eyes of nearly all the nations of Europe. 
The spirit of liberty gains ground everywhere ; which is a real occa- 
sion for congratulation among all the friends of humanity." 

The reason why St. John did not print this in the consulate 
of Napoleon is evident ; he no longer looked on the French 
Revolution, by which he and his friends had greatly suffered, 
with the admiration felt in 1789. Indeed, in quoting some 
remarks of his friends of 1800, advising against publishing 
any more American letters just then, he makes one of them 
say : — 

" Hardly escaped from the chaos and the horrors of one of the most 
amazing revolutions that ever deluged earth with blood, — still, troubled 
and alarmed at those decrees of exile, confiscation, slavery and oppro- 
brium, from which, as by miracle, the happy genius and courage of a 
young hero of 31 has just set us free at last, — what interest can we 
take in the progress of civilization in a country so distant as America? 
Wait, then, till the new sun which already illumines the horizon, has 
reached its meridian ; till the Washington of France has had time to 
develop in civil administration the talents he has displayed at the head 
of armies." 

This faith in the disinterested character of Bonaparte was 
common about 1800 ; and his coming to a treaty of peace with 
England, for which St. John's son-in-law Otto had just paved 
the way, was an evidence of his good nature. 

The new book was, as I have said, partly a philosophic," or 
ideal, and partly actual, — a compilation from various writers 
(St. John included) on the conditions of life in America. With 
this was mingled something that seems fiction, — the story 
of a scion of the royal family of Braganza, who became 
a monk, and had many adventures in Portugal, Holland, 
and America. It is always a little hard to say when St. John 
is adhering to the literal truth, though he had almost the 

10 



74 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

skill of Defoe in making fiction seem like reality. His 
own account of his reason for writing his first book, the fa- 
mous " Letters of an American Farmer," appears in a letter 
to Mme. de Houdetot. 

The ten years between St. John's landing in France, in 
1790, and his beginning to print his second work in 1800, 
were troubled and dangerous years for him and most of his 
earlier friends. Unable to get an extended leave of absence 
from his consulship, he tried for a pension upon giving up the 
post ; but his patrons were not only out of power, — they were 
exiles or prisoners, or had died under the wrath of the French 
people, so long oppressed and persecuted, against the " aristo- 
crats." The Due de Rochefoucauld had been stoned to death 
at Gisors ; Liancourt had fled to England ; and the once power- 
ful and popular Lafayette, whose reception in America was 
enthusiastically described by St. John in his third volume of 
1787, had fled from France and was basely imprisoned in an 
imperial dungeon. His son, George Washington Lafayette, 
was met at Mount Vernon by Mr. Latrobe in July, 1797, 
where he was the emigrant guest of his godfather, while 
Lafayette languished in prison. Even Otto, who had been 
secure in the foreign office under Danton's clerk, Deforgues, 
was himself imprisoned in 1794, and unable to extend protec- 
tion to his suspected father-in-law. At this crisis St. John 
found friends in the prosperous banking house of Colonel 
Swan of Boston, at whose noisy counting-room he used to 
write his letters, under feigned names and dates, to his sons, 
" Ally," at Hamburg, in a branch of Swan's bank, and Louis, 
whom in this year (1794) he had sent off to America to make 
his way as a pioneer farmer, like his father, thirty years before. 
From the autumn of 1794 till April, 1796, St. John himself lived 
near his son in Altoona, a suburb of Hamburg,- — James Mon- 
roe, who reached Paris as American envoy in the summer of 
1794, finding himself too much embarrassed by his delicate 
situation, after the downfall of Robespierre, to repay to Otto 
and St. John the services they had rendered him, as they 
thought. 

Returning to Paris in the spring of 1796, St. John found 
he had been elected a non-resident member of the French 
Academy, in one of its sections, and met with the members 
occasionally. Later in that year he joined with Otto in the 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 75 

purchase of a small estate called Lesches, near Meaux and 
the river Marne ; and he recalled Louis from America to take 
part in the farm labors there, while St. John himself remained 
in Normandy with his aged father, the Marquis, who did not 
die till 1799, at the age of ninety-two. 

At Lesches, which Louis after a while left to join the 
French armies in Italy and Switzerland, St. John edited his 
second work, already cited and quoted ; with his son William 
Alexander (married in 1798 to a lady of Normandy) residing 
on the estate for a time ; while his son-in-law Otto had gone 
to Berlin as secretary to Sieyes, ambassador to Prussia. The 
task of printing his voluminous work was a vexatious one, and 
an evidence of this is among the manuscripts in the Boston 
Public Library, where I found last year (in French) these two 
autograph notes from St. John to his publisher, Citizen Mara- 
dan, bookseller, Rue Pavee S. Andre-des-Arts, No. 16, finding 
fault with the printer, Crapelet, and dated " 28 Brumaire," — 
I suppose, 1800. They ran thus: — 

" I am in receipt, Citizen, of the nine sheets of the impression, which 
you have just sent me, and also of your letter of the 25th. Of these 
nine sheets you had already given seven for M. Otto nearly two months 
ago ; the two others were revised (comparees). It is clear, then, that 
there has been a total interruption of the printing during these two 
months ; since, if you had had more sheets you would have sent them. 
On the other hand, Citizen Crapelet cannot say that he has ceased to 
work for lack of copy, since at the same period I sent to Paris four chap- 
ters with their notes, as well as the 18 first chapters, which are very con- 
siderable, — also the cours preliminaire, the dedication and the notes 
thereto. This interruption having passed under your eye, I do not 
wish to speak of it, since it concerns you more than me. . . . The 3d 
volume will have at least 26 sheets (of 16 pages each). As to Citizen 
Tardieu (who engraved the maps and cuts), M. Bonfils has been to 
see him. I will correct the maps as soon as I have received 
them." 

Later he wrote to Maradan : — 

" The six copies received. I learn with pleasure that the work will 
at last be announced. I yesterday saw M. Laboly, who bade me ask 
you to send him a copy to-day, seeing that the Decade day comes soon, 
he would have it before then. He is going to speak to Messrs. Suard 
and Fontane, and is much disposed to think well of the book. He is a 
warm friend, who ought not to be neglected." 



76 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

After Otto's recall from England, by an intrigue of Talley- 
rand, once more in the foreign office under Napoleon, the 
First Consul sent him to Bavaria, to represent him in that then 
friendly country, at Munich. St. John, as already said, joined 
his son-in-law there in 1806, and at once, as in other countries 
where he dwelt or visited, fell into good society and saw 
famous persons. Maximilian the Elector, who had made him- 
self king, told him with what pleasure he had read the 
" American Farmer's Letters " and invited him to dinner. It 
was not in the court circle, however, but among the men of 
science, with whom Count Rumford had lived familiarly years 
before, that St. John found himself most at home. He ad- 
mired the aptitude of the Bavarians for art and the sci- 
ences, in which they have since become so distinguished. 
" There is here in Munich," he wrote, " an endowment of 
talent, which only needs a corresponding endowment of re- 
search to show itself highly productive. I have taken the 
liberty to speak to the king about this as often as with pro- 
priety I could do it." The results are now seen everywhere 
in Bavaria. 

Although Count Rumford had left Munich long before St. 
John resided there, he was living and in Paris, where he had 
married the termagant widow of Lavoisier, the French chemist. 
In September, 1809, after St. John's return to Paris, or rather 
to Sarcelles, he wrote to his son's widow some gossip of Paris 
concerning this ill-assorted pair. The Bavarian envoy had 
dined with the Otto family the Sunday before, and St. John 
writes : — 

" Somehow or other, in a rambling conversation, mention was made 
of the quarrel, — what am I saying ? the open war of M. Rumford 
with Mme. Lavoisier, his spouse, — a war that has long been the inex- 
haustible source of gossip for the salons of Paris. Nobody better than 
the Bavarian envoy to speak knowingly about it ; for he, jointly with 
M. Marbois, has been the pacificator of the endless and scandalous 
quarrels of the two belligerents. At last peace was made. They had 
separated, these two beings who never should have united. The strife 
had reached such a degree of violence that Count Fouche, the Grand 
Inquisitor of the Empire, felt compelled to take cognizance of it ; and 
but for the Bavarian envoy's intervention, his iron flail might have 
descended on the husband's head. This Americo-Anglo-Bavarian not 
being able to show in any of the upper circles of Paris since the separa- 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 77 

tion, prudently resolved to retire to Auteuil ; where, like a storm-tost 
barque just come into port, he was enjoying the rest and quiet his 
feeble health greatly needed. His friends were congratulating him on 
it, when it was learned that his former wife had just hired the house 
adjoining, with the intention of fuming the recent truce into a durable 
peace. She asked that, as the first base of the great work, she might 
have permission to open a gateway between their two adjoining gar- 
dens. Just then, alarmed at some distant rumblings, Mme. C. resolved 
to go back at once to Paris. The sequel in my next number, — or 
rather at the first dinner Fanny and I shall eat at the Bavarian 
legation." 

The " sequel " has disappeared, or was never written. Count 
Rumford, whose fine bronze statue stands in one of the streets 
at Munich, outlived St. John by a year, dying in 1814. His 
daughter, the Countess Sarah, lived and died in Concord, 
New Hampshire, the home of her mother, the first wife of 
Colonel Thompson and the daughter of Parson Walker. 

Returning to France in 1809, St. John renewed his acquaint- 
ance with Mme. de Houdetot, and with Volney, Joel Bar- 
low, and other ante-Revolutionary friends. By this time, too, 
his granddaughter had grown up and was soon married to 
a rising man in public affairs, the Baron Pelet de la Lozere, 
then attached to the Council of State (born 1785, died 1871), 
and afterwards prefect, deputy, peer, and twice minister of 
state under Louis Philippe. This marriage occurred in 1812, 
and proved a fortunate one ; but at that very time occurred 
the disastrous retreat from Russia, in which Louis St. John, 
the son, nearly lost his life. He had long been in Napoleon's 
army, — in Italy under Massena, and elsewhere, — and now, 
in 1812-1813, he was subjected to the horrors of the battle of 
Beresina and the winter retreat to Wilna in Poland. Writ- 
ing to his father from Leipzig (March 10, 1813), Louis said : — 

" I am quite well, and all my wounds are healed. I can only thank 
the Almighty for having so happily escaped the terrible destiny that 
seemed to await me, especially when I had been stripped by the 
Cossacks at Wilna. I was in such a state of misery and weakness that 
I could neither fly nor fight ; and I was incapable of enduring their 
harsh treatment, had I remained in the power of those barbarians. 
No wonder I was so reduced ; I had passed many icy nights in the 
open air without rest or sleep, in fear of freezing. If I closed my 
eyes for an instant, I opened them without being refreshed, and usually 



78 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

was waked by hunger. You know, father, that hunger, like sleep, is 
irresistible ; you had occasion to find this out in the American wilder- 
ness. I was so horribly wretched, so covered with vermin, my beard 
of such a length, that I had only a distant resemblance to a human 
being, as some of my comrades have" since told me. For all that, I 
was never so happy in my life as when I escaped from Wilna. I 
dragged myself along, half-frozen, without gloves, sticking my hands 
in my pockets, the only place where they could get a bit of warmth. 
In such a disaster, everybody thinks only of himself. Had I fallen on 
the high road, nobody would have stooped to pick me up ; and probably 
I showed myself just as indifferent towards more than one who needed 
my aid. On the march or in bivouac we were so exasperated by 
suffering that every one shied off to hide a bad crust of bread that he 
was secretly gnawing." 

When the young officer reached headquarters and communi- 
cated his safety, his father said, " This resurrection of Louis 
has made me ten years younger"; but St. John was already 
near his end. He died at Sarcelles, in Count Otto's house, 
November 12, 1813 ; and, by a continuance of those errors of 
date which clung to his career through life, he was entered in 
his death-certificate as eighty-one years old, when in fact he 
lacked two months and a half of being seventy-nine. Perhaps 
it was this certificate or his obituary in Paris, which caused 
some of his biographers to speak of him as born in 1731; 
others say, 1738 ; the actual date was January 31, 1735, as 
stated at the beginning of this paper. His obituary in the 
" Journal of the Empire " called him eighty-two and spoke 
of him as " modest even to humility." So he was, and it is 
rarely a French quality. 

At intervals during the century and a quarter since St. John 
began to be known as an author, under a disguised name, he 
has been recognized for what he essentially was, — an artless 
writer, in spite of his many innocent arts to escape personal 
annoyance ; and as true a philanthropist, though not so amply 
gifted with genius and political wisdom, as his friends Frank- 
lin and Jefferson. That singularly rare virtue, unselfish 
gratitude, was conspicuous in him ; and we should hardly 
have heard of his sufferings on the frontier, in the brutal prison 
of New York, or among the sans culottes of Paris, were it not 
for the effusion of his thanks to his Quaker friends in Pennsyl- 
vania, his loyalist and truly loyal friend William Seaton of 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 79 

New York, and the grandees of France who put him in the 
way of what was the height of his ambition, — to render useful 
service to his two countries, America and France, and to 
benefit the mass of mankind. In doing this, and almost with- 
out intending it, he became every now and then an admirable 
writer. He saw man and Nature clearly and lovingly ; he de- 
scribed what he saw in the first language that occurred to him ; 
and as this was untutored, and never imitated, it often had the 
effect of genius. According to the receipt for good writing 
which John Brown's " Paddy " unconsciously gave, St. John in 
his diaries and letters was " afther others, and niver afther 
himself at all, at all." If he did not, like Brown, rise in high 
moments into true eloquence, or the conciseness of Thucydides, 
it was the fault of his two vernaculars, — the diffuse English 
of the eighteenth century, and the late acquired French prose, 
which is more favorable to the sententiousness of wit than that 
of profound wisdom. But even so, his French may outlast, in 
its best examples, the posing rhetoric of Chateaubriand and 
all but the highest flights of Danton and Mirabeau. Far in- 
ferior in sustained elegance and descriptive charm to the prose 
of St. Pierre, it has now and then all the unforeseen grace and 
native strength which authors by profession so often lack. 

In the moral virtues St. John seems to have been a model, 
which can be seldom said of Frenchmen who have not sin- 
cerely devoted themselves to religion. His descendant and 
biographer, Robert St. John de Crevecceur, a Roman Catholic, 
says of him : — 

"He believed firmly in God and the immortality of the soul ; his poetic 
and enthusiastic spirit adored the Creator in his works ; but a long resi- 
dence among American Protestants had detached him from the true 
Church, and the railing skepticism of the Houdetot circle at last ex- 
tinguished the faith of his youth. . . . Profoundly honorable, and de- 
voted to his country, — intelligent and practical in talent, unwearied in 
bringing things to the use and love of the people ; in literature sincere 
and of good intention; he added to the good fortune of achieving some 
good in the world, a merit, very rare among his contemporaries, of never 
doing any harm." 

This is rather reserved praise, but it is also deserved, as much 
of our encomium of our ancestors oftentimes is not, — their 
chief merit in our eyes being to have made room for ourselves. 



80 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

St. John has made them better known to their descendants ; and 
if he has complimented them too highly, as his countrymen 
sometimes said, it was through his inexhaustible optimism and 
good nature, which neither the French Revolution nor the ap- 
proach of old age could quite overcome. This did not prevent 
him from seeing that evils existed and that they proceeded 
from evil men. In quoting his account of our backwoodsmen, 
— " frontiersmen " he calls them, — I shall condense his Eng- 
lish pages, and not have recourse here to the later written 
French version, which in some respects softened the picture. 
Certainly it did so with regard to slavery in South Carolina, 
his censure of which will presently be quoted. 

St. John could not resist the traveller's temptation to exag- 
gerate ; but he was clear-headed and practical, and so were 
his Americans. Take his description of the frontiersman, and 
see who of the ten thousand lecturers and journalists and 
novelists of our time could better it, — the type persisting 
with but slight variations till now, although the frontier of 
civilization has receded more than a thousand miles. 

" Near the great woods in the districts last settled men seem to be 
placed still farther beyond the reach of government. How can it per- 
vade every corner? Driven there by misfortunes, necessity of begin- 
nings, desire of acquiring large tracts of land, idleness, frequent want 
of economy, ancient debts, — the reunion of such people does not afford 
a very pleasing spectacle. When discord, want of unity and friendship, 
when either drunkenness or idleness prevails in such remote districts, 
contention, inactivity and wretchedness must ensue. The few magis- 
trates they have are in general little better than the rest. They are 
often in a perfect state of war, — that of man against man, sometimes 
decided by blows, sometimes by means of the law, — that of man 
against every wild inhabitant of these venerable woods. These men 
appear to be no better than carnivorous animals of a superior rank, 
living on the flesh of wild animals when they can catch them, and when 
they are not able they subsist on grain. There, remote from the power 
of example and check of shame, many families exhibit the most hideous 
parts of our society [meaning, civilization]." 

In spite of the awkwardness of the expressions (for St. John 
did not write the best English, though often a most effective 
kind), this is a picture of the backwoodsman, with an explana- 
tion of him. Here is no observable optimism, nor in what 
follows : — 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 81 

" Eating wild meat, whatever you may think, tends to alter the tem- 
per : though all the proof I can adduce is, that I have seen it. Having 
no place of worship to resort to, what little society this might afford is 
denied them. As Europeans and new-made Indians, they contract the 
vices of both. Hunting is but a licentious, idle life, and if it does not 
always pervert good dispositions, yet when it is united with bad luck it 
leads to want, and want stimulates that propensity to rapacity and injus- 
tice too natural in needy men." 

St. John visited Charleston and Georgetown, South Carolina, 
before the Revolution ; he had a distaste for the lawyers there, 
and was shocked at the slavery. He said : — 

"The three principal classes a/e lawyers, planters and merchants; 
this is the province which has afforded to lawyers their richest spoils, 
for nothing can exceed their wealth, power and influence. No planta- 
tion is secured, no title is good, no will is valid but what they dictate, 
regulate and approve. The whole mass of provincial property is be- 
come tributary to them ; they are more properly law-givers than inter- 
preters of the law, and have united in most of the provinces the skill 
and dexterity of the scribe with the power and ambition of the prince. 
Who can tell where this may lead in a future day ? In another century 
the law may possess in the north what now the church possesses in Peru 
and Mexico. . . . 

" The planters get rich ; so raw, so unexperienced am I in this mode of 
life, that were I to be possessed of a plantation and my slaves treated as 
in general they are here, I never could rest in peace. I should be 
thinking of the barbarous treatment they met with on shipboard, and 
finally delivered over to the severities of the whippers and the excessive 
labors of the field. The planters, bred in the midst of slaves, learn 
from the example of their parents to despise them, and seldom con- 
ceive, either from religion or philanthropy, any ideas that tend to make 
their fate less calamitous. Nothing but terrors and punishments are 
presented to them. Death is denounced if they run away ; horrid 
delaceration if they speak with their native freedom, while even those 
punishments often fail of their purpose." 

He then gives an instance of shocking punishment which he 
says he saw, but which he has exaggerated. As to the general 
facts, however, he is confirmed by Elkanah Watson, who was 
there soon after, and by Jefferson in his " Notes on Virginia." 
He modified this censure in his French edition, because, he 
said, the success of our Revolution had made slavery milder. 

In contrast to this painful censure of a state of things long 

11 



82 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Feb. 

since passed away, let me cite what has been till now one of 
the best known of St. John's English writings, — his account 
of the Quakers of Nantucket, their ownership of the island, 
and the simplicity of their habits, in the years before Nelson, 
then a young lieutenant, made the whale-fishing and candle- 
making sandbank in the midst of the Atlantic a neutral 
domain in the War of the Revolution. After describing Nan- 
tucket at great length, with an excellent map of its irregular- 
ities and peculiarities of shape and name, and another good 
map of Martha's Vineyard, from which Dr. Franklin's Folger 
ancestors migrated to Nantucket in the seventeenth century, 
St. John has this to say of the island Quakers, — their manners, 
industry, piety, and visiting habits : — 

" Idleness is the most heinous sin in Nantucket ; an idle man would 
soon be pointed out as an object of compassion ; for idleness is considered 
another word for want and hunger. The custom of incessant visiting 
has infected every one. The house is always cleaned before the women 
set out, and with peculiar alacrity they pursue their intended visit, 
which consists of a social chat, a dish of tea, and a hearty supper. 
When the good man of the house returns from his labor he peaceably 
goes after his wife and brings her home ; meanwhile the young fellows, 
equally vigilant, easily find out which is the most convenient house, and 
there they assemble with the girls of the neighborhood. 'Instead of 
cards, musical instruments or songs, they relate stories of their whaling 
voyages, their various sea adventures and the different coasts and 
people they have visited. Puddings, pies, and custards never fail to be 
produced on such occasions ; for I believe there never were any people 
in their circumstances who live so well, even to superabundance. Thus 
these young people sit and talk, and divert themselves as well as they 
can ; they often all talk and laugh together, but they are happy. This 
lasts until the father and mother return, when all retire to their respec- 
tive homes, — the men reconducting the partners of their affections. " 

In this, as in other things, he praises the islanders, and pic- 
tures them truly. A writer describing Nantucket in 1807, 
while St. John was still alive, but after he had returned to 
France, said : — 

"The 'Letters of an American Farmer' afford the most interesting 
and entertaining account of this island. However, two objections may 
be made. His pictures, though striking likenesses, are always flattering 
likenesses ; every face glows with the blush of sensibility, and is irradi- 
ated with the beams of happiness. The other objection is that he is 



1906.] ST. JOHN DE CREVECCEUR. 83 

frequently erroneous in minute and unimportant circumstances. He 
gives the contour and character of the face exactly, though in too favor- 
able a light; but he makes strange mistakes in the sleeve of a coat or 
the strap of a shoe. With good nature enough to pardon these two 
faults the reader will peruse the Letters of St. John with perpetual 
delight." 

St. John further contrasts the two islands with each other : — 

" The people of Nantucket are indebted for all their advantages not 
only to their natural genius, but to the poverty of their soil. As a 
proof, look at the Vineyard, their neighboring island, which is inhabited 
by a set of people as keen and sagacious as themselves. But their soil 
being in general extremely fertile, they have fewer navigators ; though 
equally well situated for the fishing business." 

St. John lived to see the whale-fishery of Nantucket and 
New Bedford introduced into France under the auspices of the 
French government ; but it did not attain there the success 
that New England found in it. 

In preparing this account of a man too little known, I have 
been much indebted to Mr. S. O. Todd, of St. Johnsbury 
Centre, through whom the American public, by the aid of Dr. 
Robert Turner, of Paris, have been brought into communi- 
cation with the representatives of the St. John family in Paris. 
These are the widow of Robert St. John, Mme. Marie de 
Crevecceur, and her three children, of whom the eldest is 
Lionel de Crevecceur, through whose kindness the engraving 
of Pine Hill farm has been obtained. 

Other papers which had been prepared for presentation at 
this meeting were postponed on account of the lateness of 
the hour. 

Incidental remarks were made during the meeting by the 
President and Messrs. James De Normandie, Gamaliel 
Bradford, Franklin B. Sanborn, .Samuel A. Green, and 
Melville M. Bigelow. 

A new serial, containing the record of the December meeting, 
and the Catalogue of the Waterston Collection were ready for 
delivery at this meeting. 



84 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 



MARCH MEETING, 1906. 

The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 8th instant, 
at three o'clock, P. M. ; the President in the chair. The rec- 
ord of the February meeting was read and approved ; and 
the Librarian and Cabinet-Keeper submitted the customary 
reports. 

Mr. William Endicott was elected a Resident Member, and 
Mr. Andrew C. McLaughlin, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, a Cor- 
responding Member. 

While the Committee to collect the ballots was passing the 
box, the President spoke substantially as follows : — 

Having recently presented to the Society a volume of Cam- 
bridge and Harvard University views of some interest and 
value, it occurred to me to give with it to our Librarian an 
impression from a book-plate I have recently had engraved. 
Possibly the plate might lend interest to the volume; and in 
any event it would indicate the source whence it came. In do- 
ing so, I called Dr. Green's attention to the plate in question, 
and gave him its history. He was interested ; and suggested 
that it would perhaps be well for me to communicate to the 
Society what I had told him concerning this plate, that it 
might find a place in our Proceedings. I accordingly so do. 

The plate, of which I herewith submit an impression, was 
devised by John Adams not long after he put his signature 
to the Treaty of Paris. The independence of the thirteen 
American colonies was thereby established. The arms are 
those of the Boylston family, from which John Adams was 
descended on the mother's side. The following somewhat im- 
perfect description of the plate is given by Mr. Charles Dexter 
Allen. 1 

" Armorial. The Boylston arms. The shield surrounded by a gar- 
ter on which the motto is given, — Libertatem amicitiam retinebis et 
Jidem. The whole design surrounded by thirteen stars." 
1 American Book-plates, p. 161. 
























f- W < W 1 



(• /■ 












-yu/a 



vm# 



1905 




86 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

" On the fourth of July, 1776, 

He pledged his Life, Fortune and Sacred Honor 

To the INDEPENDENCE OF HIS COUNTRY. 

On the third of September, 1783, 

He affixed his seal to the definitive treaty with Great Britain 

Which acknowledged that independence 

And consummated the redemption of his pledge.'' 

The seal used by him on this occasion was held by John 
Adams as one of his most precious possessions, and trans- 
mitted as an heirloom. Given by John Adams to John 
Quincy Adams, and by him to Charles Francis Adams, this 
Treaty of Paris seal is now in the possession of the widow 
of the last J. Q. Adams, who died August 14, 1894. The 
device on the seal is simply the Boylston arms, as they appear 
within the garter on the book-plate, — the armorial shield, 
surmounted by the lion bearing a cross, — Leo pro Deo. The 
emblematic thirteen stars surrounding the garter, the garter 
and the legend from Tacitus, were subsequently adopted in 
the book-plate as commemorative of the use made of the 
seal in connection with the crowning mercy in the life of 
him whose book-plate it was. 

The original John Adams book-plate was engraved by Car- 
penter in London in 1785 or 1786. It cannot now be found. 
The significance and motive of the design are, however, 
obvious. Among American book-plates it has accordingly an 
exceptional historical interest. J. Q. Adams devised and 
used, first and last, several book-plates ; one of which is given 
by Allen (p. 186). But, curiously enough, while John Adams's 
son retained in the plate he ordinarily used part of his father's 
motto from Tacitus, he omitted the thirteen stars which gave 
to that motto its historical significance. The plate usually 
found in the volumes of the J. Q. Adams library is, therefore, 
comparatively speaking, meaningless. 

Mr. Charles C. Smith said that the memorial to Congress 
for the preservation of the frigate " Constitution " had been 
presented in the Senate by our associate Mr. Lodge, and that 
at Mr. Lodge's request it was printed at length in the Con- 
gressional Record, with the accompanying documents. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 87 

In accordance with the By-Laws the following committees 
were appointed, to report at the Annual Meeting; to nomi- 
nate officers, Messrs. James F. Hunnewell, Arthur Lord, and 
Charles K. Bolton ; to examine the Treasurer's accounts, 
Messrs. Thomas Minns and S. Lothrop Thorndike; to examine 
the Library and Cabinet, Messrs. Don Gleason Hill, Bliss 
Perry, and Henry G. Pearson. 

Mr. Henry W. Haynes communicated the memoir of the 
Hon. Mellen Chamberlain which he had been appointed to pre- 
pare for publication in the Proceedings ; and the President 
communicated the memoirs which he had prepared of the 
Hon. Theodore Lyman and Mr. Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. 

Mr. Thomas L. Livermore read the following paper : — 

The Appomattox Campaign : An Examination of the Question 
ivhether a Captured Letter of General Lee's disclosed his Plan of 
Retreat to General Grant. 1 

The Memoir of Jefferson Davis by his wife (Vol. II. p. 595) 
contains a narrative by General G. W. C. Lee of the en- 
counter between himself and other Confederate officers who 
were captured at Sailor's Creek April 6, 1865, and General 
Benham of the Union army. These Confederate officers 
were being conducted to the rear, and the encounter is said 
to have taken place on the way to Petersburg. The narrator 
says : — 

" General Benham began talking to General Ewell in a loud tone of 
voice which could be distinctly heard by all around. I heard General 
Benham say, among other things, that General Weitzel had found 
soon after his entrance into Richmond a letter from General Lee 
giving the condition of the Army of Northern Virginia, and what 
he proposed to do should it become necessary to withdraw from the 
lines before Richmond and Petersburg, and that the letter was immedi- 
ately sent to General Grant. In answer to some doubt expressed 
by General Ewell or someone else, General Benham replied : ' Oh, 
there is no doubt about the letter, for I saw it myself.' I received 
the impression, at the time or afterwards, that this letter was a confi- 
dential communication to the Secretary of War in answer to a reso- 
lution of the Confederate Congress asking for information in 1865. 

1 Abbreviations : N. & L. = Numbers and Losses in the Civil War in America, 
1861-1865, by Thomas L. Livermore. W. R. = War of the Rebellion, Official 
Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, cited by serial number. Va. 
Camp. = The Virginia Campaign of '64 and '65, by Andrew H. Humphreys. 



88 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

When I mentioned this statement to General [Robert E.] Lee some 
time afterward, the latter said : ' This accounts for the enemy's pursuit. 
The first day after we left the lines he seemed to be entirely at sea 
with regard to our movements ; after that, although I never worked so 
hard in my life to withdraw our armies in safety, he displayed more 
energy, skill, and judgment in his movements than I ever knew him 
to display before.' " 

The inference is that both generals understood that the 
letter in General Grant's hands disclosed the destination 
and routes which Lee had planned for his army before the 
campaign opened, that this plan was followed, and that it 
was through the knowledge of it given to him by the letter 
that Grant so effectually directed the movements of his army. 
This interpretation is confirmed by another narrative of these 
incidents recited' in a recent letter from a Southern gentleman 
to our associate Dr. Rhodes with reference to the opinion ex- 
pressed in his history that in the campaign Grant outgener- 
alled Lee. The letter runs as follows : — 

"Some years ago when I was the guest of General Custis Lee — then 
his father's successor as President of Washington and Lee University — 
he told me the following story. ' At Appomattox on the 9th of April, 
1865, when the officers of the lately opposed armies were exchangiug 
greetings, a Federal general said jubilantly to a Confederate general: 
,; You could n't escape. We had you bagged. We knew every move 
you were going to make." Asked what he meant, he replied to this 
effect: " When the Federal army entered Richmond, Mr. Jefferson 
Davis's house was one of the first objectives of the men, and a soldier 
picked up in his private office a paper which proved to be of great im- 
portance. It was a communication from General R. E. Lee addressed 
to the President of the Southern Confederacy and giving, in obedience 
to a resolution of the Confederate Congress, a detailed statement of his 
plans in the event of his being obliged to evacuate Richmond, his line 
of retreat, his points of concentration, the roads to be followed by the 
several corps and by the ammunition and wagon trains. The impor- 
tance of this document was instantly recognized, and accordingly it 
was sent at once and in haste by a special messenger to General Grant, 
who knew well how to take advantage of such valuable information." 
Several years after the war General Custis Lee for the first time told 
his father this story. They were going over some of his papers at 
the time. When the gray-haired veteran heard the story, the paper 
which he had been reading dropped from his hand, and he exclaimed : 
* Now for the first time I understand why I could not extricate my 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 89 

army. I never worked harder in my life than I did then, but it was 
all in, vain. Every move I made was checkmated, the enemy was 
always on my path.'" 

The writer of the letter adds that this event explains General 
Lee's failure to make good his retreat from Richmond. 

Although the scene of the encounter with the Union gen- 
eral is different in the two accounts, they undoubtedly relate to 
the same incident. It could not have occurred at Appomat- 
tox, because Generals Ewell and Custis Lee were captured at 
Sailor's Creek three days before the surrender at Appomattox, 
but it is quite conceivable that the error as to place was due 
to a fault of memory in the letter writer. 

In the Appomattox campaign Grant, March 29 to April 9, 
1865, with a force of 115,000 effectives manoeuvred and 
drove out of their works in front of Richmond and Peters- 
burg a force of about 52,000 Confederates, 1 and then, with 
about 72,000 2 men, pursuing for about eighty miles the re- 
mainder of the Confederate army, estimated at about 39,000, 3 
captured, dispersed, or put hors du combat on the way about 
10,000, and finally surrounded and caused the surrender of 
28,231,? all that were left except 2,400 cavalry who got away. 5 
More men have been captured by siege of fortified places 
which they have occupied to defend, but in modern war no 
army has ever captured, by surrounding, so many men in full 
flight. It is of interest to ascertain whether General Grant 
was aided to this result by the good fortune of having in 
hand the plan of retreat prearranged by his great adversary. 
One naturally turns to Grant's account of the campaign for 
mention of it, but neither in his contemporary despatches, 
his report of the campaign, nor his Memoirs is there a sugges- 
tion of it. Every indication found in them is to the contrary. 
Neither is there mention of it in Badeau's Military History of 

i N. & L. 136, 137. 

2 95 W. R. 389, 391. This includes only the Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps, 
two-thirds of the Twenty-Fourth and one-third of the Twenty-Fifth Corps and the 
cavalry, less losses in these organizations March 29 to April 2. (See 95 W. R. 
1056-1065; Va. Camp. 332-353.) Here and later the number of "effectives" is 
computed from the number " present for duty " by the rule in N. & L. 69. 

3 N. & L. 136, 137. From the strength of March 29 deduction is made of 
12,000 for prisoners and 3,000 for estimated killed and wounded (maximum), 
March 29- April 2. (See 97 W. R. 449 ; Va. Camp. 332-353 ; N. & L. 136, 137.) 

4 95 W. R. 1279. 

e Ibid. 1303, 1304. 

12 



90 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Grant, Swinton's Campaign of the Army of the Potomac, 
General Humphreys's Virginia Campaign of '64 and '65, or any 
other history of the campaign which I have seen. Evidence 
of a negative kind against it is found in the fact that General 
Custis Lee's statement, above quoted from Mrs. Davis, which 
she says (p. 597) u was requested of him by Major Walthall, 
then at Beauvoir with Mr. Davis," is not mentioned by the 
latter in his book, "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate 
Government," although he relates (Vol. II. p. 648) that dur- 
ing a personal conference which General Lee held with him 
when it had become apparent that Richmond must be aban- 
doned, the plan was formulated of retiring to Danville and 
joining with J. E. Johnston's troops to attack Sherman before 
Grant could come to his relief. 

Human recollection is fallible, and possibly General Benham 
may not have intended to convey the precise impression which 
General Custis Lee retained; but the question whether Gen- 
eral Benham's vaporing was in fact based on the finding of 
a letter from General Lee should be examined. A careful 
reading of the despatches in the Official Records published 
by the War Department has disclosed the following: 1 April 5, 
C. A. Dana, Assistant Secretary of War, telegraphing from 
Jefferson Davis's house in Richmond, says that General Weit- 
zel occupied Richmond after daylight April 3. April 5, at 
9.30 p.m., Secretary Stanton telegraphed Dana that he had 
directed General Weitzel, who commanded the forces in Rich- 
mond, to secure all the letters, papers, and correspondence in 
the post-office and other departments at Richmond, and directed 
Dana to see Weitzel and take charge of the papers and trans- 
mit them to the War Department. April 6, at noon, Dana, 
acknowledging the latter telegram, telegraphed : — 

" The records and papers of the Department and of Congress were 
removed before the evacuation ; and during the firing the Capitol was 
ransacked and the documents there were scattered. The letter of Lee 
which I telegraphed yesterday was accidentally picked up by an 
officer." 

This letter, which appears in the records, was General 
Robert E. Lee's reply to a letter of Secretary of War 
Breckenridge, 2 in which the latter says : — 

i 97 W. R. 574, 575, 593. 2 96 W. R. 1292. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 91 

" My reflections upon our recent conversations induce me to request 
that you will give me fully your opinions upon the military situation. 
Since I assumed control of the War Department, a more extended 
knowledge has convinced me that our condition is full of peril and that 
it demands united counsels and prompt action. It seems to me that 
the legislative department of the Government, if not already fully 
advised, should be thoroughly informed of the present posture of affairs 
in order that its wisdom may cooperate in advising whatever further 
measures shall seem necessary to rescue the Confederacy from its 
present danger." 

General Lee's reply was as follows: 1 — 

" I have received to-night your letter of this date requesting my 
opinions upon the military condition of the country. It must be appar- 
ent to everyone that it is full of peril and requires prompt action. My 
correspondence with the Department will show the extreme difficulty 
under which we have labored during the past year to keep this army 
furnished with necessary supplies. This difficulty is increased, and it 
seems almost impossible to maintain our present position with the 
means at the disposal of the Government. In our former operations 
in this State a large portion of our forage and subsistence was collected 
by the staff officers connected with the army by the use of transporta- 
tion, and we were not confined to what the several departments could 
supply. The country within reach of our present position has been 
nearly or quite exhausted and we are now dependent upon what those 
departments can provide. The respective chiefs can best inform you 
of the means at their command, but from all the information I possess 
the only practical relief is in the generous contribution of the people to 
our necessities, and that is limited by the difficulties of transportation, 
whatever may be the extent of this willingness and ability, of which I 
am unable to form an accurate opinion. 

" Unless the men and animals can be subsisted the army cannot be 
kept together and our present lines must be abandoned. Nor can it 
be moved to any other position where it can operate to advantage 
without provisions to enable it to move in a body. 

" The difficulties attending the payment and clothing of the troops, 
though great, are not so pressing, and would be relieved in a measure 
by military success. The same is true as to the ordnance supplies, and 
I therefore confine my remarks chiefly to those wants which must be 
met now, in order to maintain a force adequate to justify a reasonable 
hope of success. If the army can be maintained in an efficient condi- 
tion, I do not regard the abandonment of our present position as neces- 
sarily fatal to our success. 

1 96 W. R. 1295. 



92 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

"The army operating under General Johnston has not yet been 
concentrated and its strength is not accurately known. It is believed, 
however, to be inferior to that of the enemy, and its condition gives no 
strong prospect of a marked success. 

"In the more southern portions of the country, east of the Missis- 
sippi, our forces are numerically inferior to those of the enemy, nor 
do I see any prospect, from my present information, of putting them 
on a footing adequate to the performance of the services that they will 
probably be called upon to render during the approaching campaign. 

" While the military situation is not favorable, it is not worse than 
the superior numbers and resources of the enemy justified us in expect- 
ing from the beginning. Indeed the legitimate military consequences 
of that superiority have been postponed longer than we had reason to 
anticipate. Everything in my opinion has depended and still depends 
upon the disposition and feelings of the people. Their representatives 
can best decide how they will respond to the demands which the public 
safety requires." 

There is nothing in this letter which touches upon plans or 
routes for moving the army in retreat. It answers to Ben- 
ham's particulars only in being addressed to the Secretary 
of War for the information of the Confederate Congress, in 
giving the condition of the Confederate army, and in discuss- 
ing in a general way the possibility of prolonging the war in 
another field after the evacuation of Richmond. 

It is highly probable that this letter was repeated to Grant 
and also to President Lincoln at City Point, for he left Rich- 
mond for that place (without meeting Dana), 1 April 5, on 
which day Dana repeated it to Stanton at Washington. It is 
quite probable that Benham learned of it at City Point, where 
he was stationed, 2 on that da}^ or the next. On that day 
Grant was at Wilson's Station, thirty miles west of City Point 
and twenty miles beyond railway communication. That no 
other letter from Lee was mentioned by Dana is strong evi- 
dence that none containing information important for Grant 
to know had been found, as also is the fact that President 
Lincoln, who was taking a lively interest in the military move- 
ments, at noon April 6, telegraphing from City Point to Grant 
in the field, 3 tells of having been in Richmond April 4 and 5 
without mentioning any letter giving Lee's routes for retreat. 
As we shall see, on the evening of April 4 Sheridan had dis- 

i 97 W. K. 975. 2 Ibid. 562, 585, 586. 3 Ibid. 593. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 93 

covered Lee's army at the rendezvous to which its retreat had 
been directed and had placed his force across its path to bar 
the way to Danville, and early on the morning of April 6 
Grant's infantry, which had joined Sheridan, sweeping across 
country, had struck Lee's army retreating by a route farther 
west to which it had turned in the effort to avoid the Union 
army. Its subsequent routes were disclosed by daily contact 
of the two armies until the surrender, April 9. 

Let us now compare the record of the despatches which 
passed between Grant and his commanders during the cam- 
paign with its events, for internal evidence as to the informa- 
tion on which the movements were based. It is to be borne 
in mind that the period during which it would have been pos- 
sible for Grant to have availed himself of the supposed letter 
of General Lee could not have begun before some time on 
April 3, after the entry of Weitzel's force into Richmond, and 
that it terminated when Grant's last order was given for the 
movements which terminated with the surrender, April 9. A 
comparison of the events April 3-9 with those of the five 
preceding days does not seem to warrant the opinion that 
Grant showed more energy, skill, and judgment in the last 
than in the first of these two periods. The situation at the 
opening of the campaign was as follows. On the 23d of 
March Sherman's army, nearly 90,000 strong, on its march 
northward, had reached Goldsborough, North Carolina, one 
hundred and ninety miles south of Petersburg. 1 Davis says 
that early in March, as well as he can fix the date, Lee, seeing 
that he must eventually leave Richmond and Petersburg, had 
laid his plans for retreating to Danville, Virginia, close to the 
North Carolina border, and then joining with Johnston's army 
in North Carolina, to fall on Sherman with the combined force 
before Grant could come to his relief. 2 Lee's army, intrenched 
in front of Richmond and Petersburg on a line about thirty- 
eight miles long, confronted Grant's army intrenched in a line 
substantially parallel to it. The fronts were separated by the 
James and Appomattox rivers for about ten miles of the line, 
and were covered by heavy earthworks along the remaining 
twenty-eight miles. The distance between the works was at 
some points less than a pistol-shot, and never more than a 

i 99 W. R. 969. 

2 2 Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 648. 



94 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

cannon-shot. From the southern front of Richmond the lines 
ran southerly to Petersburg, and passing around the southern 
front of the latter city, extended thence southwesterly about 
eight miles to Hatcher's Run. The only routes by which the 
Confederate army could retire to the interior of the South 
were via Lynchburg for middle Tennessee or via Danville for 
North Carolina. The former line Lee had definitely rejected. 1 
To reach North Carolina it was necessary for Lee's army 
either to break through the Union lines in front of Peters- 
burg or to pass to the west of them and then turn southward. 
Danville was about one hundred and twenty miles southwest 
from the western flanks of the two armies. Close behind the 
Confederate line was the Southside Railroad, which ran west- 
erly to Lynchburg. Forty miles west of Petersburg at Burke- 
ville it crossed the railway from Richmond to Danville. To 
keep the Southside Railroad for use in retreat, it was necessary 
to prevent the Union force from passing around the western 
end of the Confederate line and sitting down upon the rail-' 
way, and to keep control of the Danville Railroad for the same 
use it was necessary to prevent the Union army from possess- 
ing Burke ville. In the hope of delaying Grant's movement 
against the railways and thereby postponing the necessity of 
retreating, Lee, March 25, 2 assaulted and took Fort Stedman, 
an earthwork directly in front of Petersburg, but was driven 
out with considerable loss. Although unsuccessful, this attack 
was based upon wise foresight in General Lee, for four days 
earlier Grant, in his turn prophesying that Lee would soon 
attempt to unite with Johnston, 3 had planned a movement 
against the railways. 4 The attack did not deter Grant. Pur- 
suing his plan, he brought three divisions of infantry and one 
of cavalry under Ord from the Richmond front to the Peters- 
burg front ; he started them with Sheridan's cavalry and the 
Second, Fifth, and Sixth Corps, March 28, from the Petersburg 
front to move westward beyond the end of the intrenchments 
and then northward for the Southside Railroad. March 28 
he wrote Sheridan : 5 — 

1 2 Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, 648. 

2 Davis intimates that Lee, not actuated by his usual well-balanced judgment, 
hoped that he might even avoid the retreat by success in this attack. (2 Rise and 
Fall of the Confederate Government, 649.) 

3 97 W. R. 67. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 234. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 95 

" Reach the right and rear of the enemy as soon as you can. It is 
not the intention to attack the enemy in his intrenched position, but to 
force him out if possible. Should he come out and attack us or get 
himself where he can be attacked, move in with your entire force in 
your own way and with the full reliance that the army will engage 
or follow the enemy as circumstances will dictate. I shall be on the 
field and will probably be able to communicate with you. Should I 
not do so, and you find that the enemy keeps within his main in- 
trenched line [the western end of the line was at Hatcher's Run] you 
may cut loose and push for the Danville road. It you find it practi- 
cable, I would like you to cross the Southside between Petersburg and 
Burkeville and destroy it to some extent. I would not advise much 
detention, however, until you reach the Danville road, which I would 
like you to strike as near to the Appomattox as possible. You can 
then pass on to the Southside west of Burkeville and destroy that in 
like manner. After having accomplished the destruction of the two 
railroads which are now the only avenues of supply to Lee's army, you 
may return to this army, selecting your road farther south, or you may 
go on into North Carolina and join General Sherman." 

It is clear from this that Grant here, six days before Rich- 
mond fell, was planning to block both possible lines of retreat, 
and that he believed that Danville rather than Lynchburg 
would be Lee's destination. 

When Lee learned of the movement of the Union troops 
west of the intrenchments, he sent a force to interpose be- 
tween them and the Southside Railroad and to check their 
advance by an attack. On the 29th Johnson's division 2 of 
this force, 6,400 strong, 2 moving southward, met and attacked 
Griffin's division of the Fifth Corps, 6,500 strong, 3 in its 
advance northward at the. Quaker Road, and was repulsed. 4 
The loss on the Union side was 381, and on the Confederate 
side between 700 and 900. 5 It was learned from prisoners 
and deserters that troops from three Confederate divisions 
had come out to the west of their intrenchments. The Union 
line being well established, Grant, who was on the field, 

1 95 W. R. 1286, 1287. 

2 Ibid. 389; 96 W. R. 1264-1297. This allows for loss of 362 by desertion and 
otherwise, February 28-March 29. 

3 95 W. R. 601, 602, 796. 

4 Ibid. 1287. 

5 Ibid. 803-849. The wounded are computed at 4.8 times the killed. (Reg. 
Losses, 24.) About 200 prisoners were taken (95 W. R. 846), but how many 
of them were wounded is not reported. 



96 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

seeing the opportunity to bring on a decisive battle outside 
the intrenchments, wrote to Sheridan at the west end of the 
line : 1 — 

"I now feel like ending the matter, if it is possible, before going 
back. I do not want you, therefore, to cut loose and go after the 
enemy's roads at present. In the morning push around the enemy if 
you can and get on to his right rear. . . . We will all act together 
as one army until it is seen what can be done with the enemy." 

March 30 the movement northward toward the Southside 
Railroad continued, although much impeded by torrents of 
rain, with slight encounters and with evidence of the presence 
of an additional Confederate force west of their intrench- 
ments. Sheridan's advance reached the vicinity of Five Forks, 
seven miles west of the intrenchments and about two miles 
south of the Southside Railroad. 2 Grant had 46,500 3 west of 
his intrenchments ready to move on the Southside Railroad. 
To oppose this force Lee had moved out about 23,000 4 of all 
arms. It was yet within his power to abandon Richmond and 
retreat with so good a lead that he could have reached Dan- 
ville with an unbroken army ; but he chose the bold and, as it. 
proved, the disastrous, alternative of taking the offensive. He 
sent 8,500 infantry and artillery 5 to join his 5,000 6 cavalry at 
Five Forks, and on the 31st, meeting Sheridan's 9,000 7 cavalry 
near that point, pressed it slowly back several miles. It made 
stout resistance, and at night presented a well-ordered front 
at Dinwiddie Court House. During this combat Lee sent for- 
ward, about three miles to the east, four brigades, 8 5,500 strong, 
against the advance of the Fifth Corps at White Oak Road. 
They attacked and sent in retreat two divisions of that corps, 
9,000 strong, but were in turn driven back by other troops. 

i 97 W. R. 266. 

2 Ibid. 324. 

3 The Second and Fifth Corps, Sheridan's and Mackenzie's cavalry, 95 W. R. 
1101, 1104. 

4 Fitz Lee's, W. H. F. Lee's, and Rosser's cavalry divisions, Pickett's and 
Johnson's divisions, and Cooke's, McRae's, Scale's, and McGowan's brigades, 95 
W. R. 1287, 1299 ; Va. Camp. 326. 

5 Steuart's; Corse's, Terry's, Ransom's, and Wallace's infantry brigades, 95 
W. R. 1287. 

6 Fitz Lee's, W. H. F. Lee's, and Rosser's divisions. 
1 95 W. R. 1101. 

8 Moody's, Wise's, Hunton's, and McGowan's brigades, 95 W. R. 1287. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 97 

This ended the battle at this point. The loss on the Union 
side was 1,738, and on the Confederate side 800. 1 Then the 
Fifth Corps was sent to join Sheridan. He with this corps 
and his cavalry, about 25,000 in all, moving northward, 
April 1, to Five Forks, there overwhelmed Pickett's infantry 
and the cavalry, 13,500 in all, captured between 4,000 and 
5,000, and drove the rest northward and westward. 2 

The despatch of troops from the Petersburg intrenchments 
to meet the Union advance above outlined left only about 
11,000 Confederate infantry and artillery 3 to man the twelve 
miles of intrenchments from the Appomattox to Hatcher's 
Run. Grant, correctly judging that the reduction of the force 
in the intrenchments gave chance of successfully assaulting 
them, and also desiring to prevent the despatch of more troops 
against Sheridan, ordered a general attack for the morning of 
April 2. This attack was promptly made, a large part of the 
intrenchments were carried, and the Confederate force was 
cut in two by the penetration of the Second, Sixth, and Ord's 
Corps. A part of the Confederates fled westward and, stand- 
ing at Sutherland Station, were there attacked and put to 
flight by Miles's division and continued to the northwest, 
pursued until nightfall and to a point about fourteen miles 
from Petersburg by Sheridan's cavalry, 4 who were closely fol- 
lowed by the Fifth and a part of the Second Corps. The 
intrenchments immediately around Petersburg were resolutely 
and successfully defended by the Confederates until night, 
which gave time for the evacuation of Richmond, already too 
long delayed. The Confederate government officials left that 
afternoon by rail for Danville, and that night all the Con- 
federate troops in Richmond and Petersburg, as well as those 
in front of Sheridan, withdrew without discovery by their 
opponents. On the morning of April 3 the Confederate army 
had vanished. 

The field of the manoeuvres of the next three days may be 
roughly outlined as a right-angled triangle, with Petersburg 
at the rectangle, the perpendicular of about twenty miles run- 

1 95 W. E. 677, 819. 

2 Ibid. 1104, 1105, 1264; Va. Camp. 353. 

8 Gordon's Corps, Davis's, McComb's, Lane's, and Thomas's brigades, Va. 
Camp. 326, 363 ; 97 W. R. 1379. 
4 95 W. R. 1119, 1289. 

13 



98 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

ning north to Richmond, the base of about forty miles running 
west to a point a mile or two west of Burkeville, and the 
hypothenuse of about forty-five miles running southwest from 
Richmond substantially on the line of the Richmond and 
Danville Railroad to Burkeville. Amelia Court House was a 
station on the Danville Railroad about thirty miles southwest 
of Richmond and fifteen miles from Burkeville. Several high- 
ways from Richmond and Petersburg joined at Amelia Court 
House, and thence roads following the general course of the 
railroad through Burkeville afforded the shortest route to 
Danville. Farther to the west there were more circuitous 
routes to Danville, and northwest of them was a route to 
Lynchburg, which is about seventy miles west of Burkeville. 
As will appear later, the three portions of Lee's army, from 
the base, the rectangle, and the northern angle, were marching 
to concentrate at Amelia Court House for retreat thence along 
the hypothenuse for Danville. 

When the retreat of Lee's army became known, the ques- 
tions before Grant were whether Lee's destination was Lynch- 
burg or Danville, and if it was the latter, would he attempt to 
go via Burkeville or would he take a route via Farmville or 
farther west? The evidence all is that he had to rely upon 
the information extracted from deserters, prisoners, and citi- 
zens, and the news from his cavalry in the advance, to confirm 
or to shake his belief that Lee's retreat must be to Danville. 
No better exposition of his means of information and the bases 
of his decisions can be invented than that found in the language 
of the despatches of April 3, which I here quote : — 

General Weitzel (in Richmond) to Assistant-Adjutant 
General Bowers (at City Point) : — 

" We took Richmond at 8.15 this morning." 
Grant (at Petersburg) to Bowers : 1 — 

" I start toward the Danville road with the army. I want to cut 
off as much of Lee's army as possible." 

Grant (at Petersburg) to Sheridan, 10.20 a.m. : 2 — 

" I have no special orders to send further than those taken by 
Major Hudson of my staff this morning. The troops got off from here 

i 97 W. R. 509. 2 Ibid. 528. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 99 

early, marching by the river and Cox Roads [westward]. It is under- 
stood that the enemy will make a stand at Amelia Court House with 
the expectation of holding the road between Danville and Lynchburg. 
The first object of present movement will be to intercept Lee's army, 
and the second to secure Burkeville. I have ordered the road to be put 
in order to the latter place as soon as possible. I shall hold that place if 
Lee stops at Danville, and shall hold it anyhow until his policy is indi- 
cated. Make your movements according to this programme." 

Sheridan to Grant, 1.45 P. M. : 1 — 

" Before receiving your despatch I had anticipated the evacuation of 
Petersburg and had commenced moving West. My cavalry is nine 
miles west of Namozine Creek [within about ten miles of Amelia 
Court House] and is pressing the enemy's trains. I shall push on to 
the Danville Railroad as rapidly as possible. " 

Grant (at Petersburg, 2.30 P. m) to Weitzel (at Richmond) : 2 

" How are you progressing? Will the enemy try to hold Rich- 
mond ? I have detained the division [from Ord] belonging to your 
corps [25th] and will send it back if you think it will be needed. 
I am waiting here to hear from you." 

Be it understood that despatches between Richmond and 
Petersburg were repeated at City Point. 

Grant to Hartsuff, commanding Bermuda Front : — 

" Has the enemy left your front ? " 

Hartsuff to Grant : — 

" The enemy is reported moving in the direction of Chesterfield 
Court House [on the way to Amelia Court House]. It is the impres- 
sion among deserters that they are going to Lynchburg." 

President Lincoln (at City Point) to Secretary Stanton, 

5 p.m.: 3 — 

" I have already been to Petersburg. Stayed with General Grant an 
hour and a half and returned here. It is now certain that Richmond 
is in our hands. I think I will go there to-morrow." 

Bowers (at City Point) to Grant, 5.15 P. M. : — 

" I have been unable to get a despatch to you since morning. I re- 
gretted to hear from the President, who has just returned, that you 
did not receive WeitzeFs despatch announcing that he took possession 
of Richmond at 8.15 this morning. I have not heard from him since." 

i 97 W. R. 529. 2 i hi d. 534. 3 Ibid. 509. 



100 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Grant (at Sutherland's Station, nine miles west of Peters- 
burg) to General Sherman: 1 — 

" The movements of which I spoke to you when you were here com- 
menced on the 28th and . . . terminated in the fall of both Richmond 
and Petersburg this morning. The mass of Lee's army were whipped 
badly south of Petersburg, and to save the remnant he was forced to 
evacuate Richmond. . . . The troops from Petersburg as well as 
those from Richmond retreated between the two rivers [Appomattox 
and James] and there is every indication they will endeavor to secure 
Burkeville and Danville. I am pursuing with five corps and the 
cavalry, and hope to capture or disperse a large number more. It is 
also my intention to take Burkeville and hold it until it is seen whether 
it is a part of Lee's plan to hold Lynchburg and Danville. . . . Should 
Lee go to Lynchburg with his whole force and I get Burkeville, there will 
be no special use in your going any farther into the interior of North 
Carolina. In case of my failure to secure Burkeville ... it might 
be necessary for you to operate on the enemy's lines between Danville 
and Burkeville, whilst I would act on them from Richmond between the 
latter place and Lynchburg." 

Sheridan during April 3 pushed on into the triangle after 
the retreating Confederates with his cavalry, the Fifth Corps, 
and two divisions of the Second Corps. 2 The other division 
of the Second Corps, two divisions of the Ninth Corps, and the 
Sixth Corps started early in the morning to overtake them. 3 
Ord's command was pushed westward 4 along the base of the 
triangle. Grant made no move into the triangle from its 
perpendicular, but operated entirely along and from its base. 
The foregoing shows clearly that, in directing the movements 
of April 3, he was guided by his judgment of the strategic 
probabilities, and that believing that Lee's destination was 
Lynchburg or Danville, although not certain which, he wasted 
no time in trying to follow the forces which left Petersburg 
and Richmond, but taking the chance that Weitzel's small 
command would take care of their adversaries if they stayed 
in Richmond, he pressed all the rest of his army west and 
northwest to intercept if possible, or at any rate to strike, 
Lee's army if it was retreating to the southwest, whether to 
Danville or to Lynchburg. 

By Grant's order the march continued by the same routes 

i 97 W. R. 510. 2 iud. 512, 514, 516. 

3 Ibid. 520, 521, 523, 524. 4 Ibid. 532. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 101 

April 4. 1 The news was sent to Sheridan from Merritt com- 
manding the advance in touch with the Confederates on the 
north, that indications were that Lee's army was marching for 
Amelia Court House, 2 and Sheridan aimed to strike the Dan- 
ville Railroad about midway between Amelia Court House 
and Burkeville. 3 The following despatches of that day are 
instructive on the question under examination. Grant (at 
Wilson's Station, about twenty-five miles west of Petersburg) 
to Sheridan : 4 — 

"An engineer from the Southside Railroad is just in from Burkeville. 
He reports that Davis and cabinet passed there about 3 a. m. yesterday, 
going south [towards Danville]. ... It was understood Lee was 
accompanying his troops and that he was bound for Danville by way 
of Farmville. Unless you have information more positive of the 
movements of the enemy, push on with all despatch to Farmville and 
try to intercept the enemy there. I will push two divisions of Ord's 
troops as far toward Burkeville to-morrow as possible." 

In fact, Lee's purpose was to go, not by Farmville, but by 
Burkeville. 

Sheridan to Grant, 12 M. : 5 — 

" From the best information he can obtain General Merritt is of the 
opinion that the enemy is retreating towards Lynchburg. General 
Crook [commanding cavalry division] has no doubt reached the Dan- 
ville Railroad before this. I am now moving out the Fifth Corps 
from Deep Creek as rapidly as possible in the direction of Amelia 
Court House.*' 

Merritt (commanding Sheridan's cavalry in the advance six 
miles southeast from Amelia Court House) to Sheridan, 
3 p.m.: 6 — 

" Generals Rosser and Fitz Lee camped here last night. They all 
said they were going to Lynchburg. Everything indicates they are 
moving that way, though I cannot tell certainly." 

At 4 P. M. he reports both infantry and cavalry in his front, 
and says : — 

" Prisoners just taken report that some said they were going to 
Amelia Court House and others across the Appomattox [northward]." 

1 97 W. R. 529, 531. 2 Ibid. 531. 3 Ibid. 516-517. 
* Ibid. 557. 5 Ibid. 556. 6 ibid. 559. 



102 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

At night he wrote : — 

" I am satisfied the enemy will leave our front as soon as they can 
get off. Some say they will go to Lynchburg, others to Danville." 

Sheridan (at JetersviUe on Danville Railroad) to Meade, 

1p.m.: 1 - 

" The rebel army is in my front three miles distant with all its train. 
If the Sixth Corps can hurry up, we will have sufficient strength. I 
will hold my ground until driven from it. I understand that Hum- 
phreys [Second Corps] is just after the Fifth Army Corps. Please 
notify General Grant. The enemy are moving from Amelia Court 
House to JetersviUe and Burke's Station [Burkeville] to Danville. 
Jeff Davis passed over this railroad yesterday to Danville." 

These despatches make it clear that up to the evening of 
April 4 Grant was not guided by any information as to the 
routes taken by the Confederate forces in retreat, other than 
what was gained by the ordinary method from deserters, 
prisoners, and citizens, the contact of the advance with the 
enemy, and the traces left by retreating troops, and that, being 
uncertain whether Lee, aiming for Danville, would take the 
shortest route along the hypothenuse of the triangular field of 
operations above outlined, or one outside of it on the north- 
west by way of Farmville, or, aiming at Lynchburg, would 
take a route still farther northwest of the triangle, he directed 
his troops so as to meet either event. Sheridan, with three 
divisions of cavalry and the Fifth Corps, had left the base of 
the triangle at Sutherland's Station, seven miles west of Peters- 
burg, and gone across and established his line across the 
hypothenuse at a point south of the approaching Confederates, 
and the Second and Sixth Corps, diverging at Sutherland's 
Station, had followed the Fifth into the triangle, 2 while Ord 
with two divisions had continued moving westward for Burke- 
ville along the base 3 as nearly as the roads allowed. 

Let us return to April 2, to inquire whether the retreat was 
conducted on a prearranged plan or not. Reference has been 
made above to Davis's statement that before the campaign 
opened Lee, rejecting the plan of retreating to Lynchburg, had 
determined to go to Danville. Apparently this determination 
w T as later than that announced by him in a letter of February 

i 97 W. R. 557. 2 95 W. R. 680, 905. » i hidt i 177 . 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 103 

22 * to Longstreet, commanding at Richmond, in which, refer- 
ring to the possible necessity of leaving Richmond on the 
approach of Sherman, he wrote : — 

" Our line is so long, extending from the Chickahominy to the 
Nottoway, and the enemy is so close upon us, that if we are obliged to 
withdraw we cannot concentrate all our troops nearer than some point 
ou the line of railroad between Richmond and Danville. Should a 
necessity therefore arise, I propose to concentrate at or near Burkeville. 
. . . With the army concentrated at or near Burkeville, our corn- 
nunications north and south would be by that railroad and west by 
the Southside Railroad." 

He here clearly indicates the purpose of keeping open his 
line to Lynchburg as well as to Danville. In this letter he 
also specifies routes for troops from Richmond and Petersburg 
which in fact were taken in the retreat ; but neither in this 
letter nor in his subsequent despatches as far as published, 
did he lay out routes for troops starting from any point west 
of Petersburg, or hint that he had planned a rendezvous, or 
otherwise provided, for such a disaster as his army suffered, 
April 2, in being cut in two. 

His despatches, April 2, from Petersburg run as follows : — 

To the Secretary of War (received at 10.40 A. M.) : 2 — 

" I see no prospect of doing more than holding our position here 
till night. I am not certain that I can do that. If I can I shah with- 
draw to-night north of the Appomattox, and, if possible, it will be better 
to withdraw the whole line to-night from James River. The brigades 
on Hatcher's Run are cut off from us ; the enemy have broken through 
our lines and intercepted between us and them, and there is no bridge 
over which they can cross the Appomattox this side of Goode's or 
Beaver's, which are not very far from the Danville Railroad. Our only 
chance, then, of concentrating our forces is to do so near Danville Rail- 
road, which I shall endeavor to do at once." [Received at 4.55] "I 
think the Danville road will be safe until to-morrow." [Received at 7 
o'clock] "The troops will all be directed to Amelia Court House." 3 

To President Davis : 4 — 

"I have directed General Stevens to send an officer to your Excel- 
lency to explain the routes to you by which the troops will be moved to 

i 96 W. R. 1250. 2 97 W. R. 1378. 

3 Ibid. 1379- * Ibid. 1378. 



104 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Amelia Court House, and furnish you with a guide and any assistance 
that you may require for yourself." 

To General Ewell commanding at Richmond : 1 — 

" Take the road with your troops to Branch Church via Gregory's to 
Genito Road over Genito Bridge to Amelia Court House. . . . General 
Stevens will indicate routes to you and furnish guides." 

On the road, April 3, 6.30 P. M., Lee to Ewell : 2 — 

" When you were directed to cross the Appomattox at Genito Bridge, 
it was supposed that a pontoon bridge had been laid at that point as 
ordered, but I learn to-day from Mr. Haxall that such is not the case. 
Should you not be able to cross at that point or at some bridge higher 
up, cross at Goode's." 

Special Orders of General Lee, April 4, 3 direct spare ar- 
tillery to be " sent by rail if practicable from Amelia Court 
House to Danville or to some point south of it," and wagons 
not necessary, to go via Farmville or some route west of this 
across the Dan River west of Danville into North Carolina. 

A despatch from the Provost Marshal in Richmond to Major 
Archer, Quartermaster, April 2, 4 reads : " Is there anyone 
here who can act as guide on the roads leading to Danville. 
General Ewell desires one to report to him immediately " ; to 
which Major Archer replied : 5 "I have no one who knows 
anything about the road to Danville." 

In his report of April 12, 1865, to President Davis, General 
Lee wrote : 6 — 

" Upon arriving at Amelia Court House, on the morning of the 4th, 
with the advance of the army on the retreat from the lines in front of 
Richmond and Petersburg, and not finding the supplies ordered to be 
placed there, nearly twenty-four hours were lost in endeavoring to col- 
lect in the country subsistence for men and horses. This delay was 
fatal and could not be retrieved. The troops, wearied by continual 
fighting and marching for several days and nights, obtained neither rest 
nor refreshment, and on moving on the 5th on the Richmond and Dan- 
ville railroad I found at Jetersville the enemy's cavalry, and learned 
the approach of his infantry and the general advance of his army to 
ward Burkeville. This deprived us of the use of the railroad and 
rendered it impracticable to procure from Danville the supplies ordered 

1 97 W. R. 1380. 2 Ibid. 1382. 3 Ibid. 1384. 

* Ibid. 1381. & Ibid. e 95 w. R. 1265. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 105 

to meet us at points of our march. Nothing could be obtained from the 
adjacent country. Our route to the Roanoke [via Danville] was there- 
fore changed, and the march directed upon Farmville, where supplies 
were ordered from Lynchburg." 

It can readily be understood that the entire absence of an 
enemy in the rear of the troops retreating from Petersburg and 
Richmond might well have given General Lee the impression, 
during April 3, that the Union officers were at sea as to the 
whereabouts of his army during the weary hours when its 
columns toiling toward the rendezvous were so widely sepa- 
rated that they could not have aided each other against 
attacks. It is possible, also, that when he expressed this 
impression to Custis Lee after the war, he supposed, as he did 
when he wrote the report above quoted, that when he neared 
Jetersville, April 5, the general advance of the Union army 
was in progress toward Burkeville. If that had been the 
case, it might have justified his impression, and the Confederate 
army might have got away ; but in fact the Second, Fifth, and 
Sixth Corps and three divisions of cavalry were across his 
path in his immediate front, 1 and Ord's command reached 
Burkeville that night. 2 The results were much more effective 
toward the extinction of the Confederate army than any direct 
movement from Petersburg or Richmond for immediate con- 
tact with the flank or rear of the troops which left those places 
on the night of April 2 could have been. 

Sheridan's message on the 4th that he had the Confederate 
army in front of him, above quoted, spurred the Second and 
Sixth Corps to strenuous efforts, and by hard marching they 
reached him April 5. 3 On the same da} r Ewell's command from 
Richmond, the last of Lee's army, reached Amelia Court House. 4 
That afternoon Lee, to avoid the Union force in front of him, 
turned to the west and then to the south, and pressed forward 
for Farmville. 5 The four corps under Sheridan and Meade, 
moving forward early on April 6, discovered the rear of the 
Confederate army moving to the westward, and turned to 

1 95 W. R. 604, 1107, 1174. 

2 Ibid. 1161. The Ninth Corps was distributed along the Southside Railroad 
to guard it and so did not join in the pursuit. 

3 Ibid. 681, 905, 913. 

4 Ibid. 1294. 

5 Ibid. 1265, 1294. 

14 



106 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

the left in pursuit which was continued all day with constant 
encounters. 1 Near the close of the day one division of the 
cavalry at Sailor's Creek threw itself across the road which 
the Confederates were following, between Longstreet's Corps, 
which had passed on to the south, and Anderson's Corps and 
Ewell's command. The march of the two latter commands 
being so arrested, they were encompassed and attacked on the 
north, east, and south by all Sheridan's cavalry and the Sixth 
Corps, and after fighting fiercely were all captured, killed, or 
driven from the field. 2 At the same time Gordon's Corps, 
standing at the crossing of Sailor's Creek two miles west and 
giving stout battle, was driven by the Second Corps in much 
confusion and with heavy loss. 3 

It needs no argument to establish the fact that on this day 
Lee, in changing from the direct route for Danville via Burke- 
ville, to the route farther west via Farmville, changed his plan, 
and that Grant, by contact with Lee's army, and not by any 
other disclosure of his plans, discovered his intentions. Farm- 
ville lay ten miles west of the battlefield of Sailor's Creek. 
The next road south, which the Confederate army could have 
taken for Danville, led from Farmville through Prince Edward 
Court House, five miles south. On learning the results of the 
battles of April 6, Grant that night ordered the Fifth Corps 
to push for Prince Edward Court House, 4 and early on the 7th 
that corps and Ord's Corps, preceded by Sheridan with two 
cavalry divisions, pressed on to Prince Edward Court House 5 
to bar the way there. But on the morning of April 7 Lee 
passed " the main body across the river [Appomattox] for 
temporary relief," to u still try to move around toward North 
Carolina." 6 He thus forsook the direct route via Prince Ed- 
ward Court House for one thirty-five miles farther west. Of 
this he wrote in his report as follows : — 

" On the morning of the 7th rations were issued to the troops as they 
passed Farmville, but the safety of the trains requiring their removal upon 
the approach of the enemy, all could not be supplied. The army, reduced 
to two corps under Longstreet and Gordon, moved steadily on the road 
to Appomattox Court House ; thence its march was ordered by Camp- 
bell Court House through Pittsylvania toward Danville." 

i 95 W. R. 681. 2 Ibid. 1107, 1108, 1265. 

3 Ibid. 682, 1266. 4 97 W. R, 620, 621, 628, 634. 

5 95 W. R. 1109. 6 97 W. R. 1389. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 107 

Campbell Court House was thirty-five miles west of Farm- 
ville. 

That portion of the Confederate army which fled from 
Sailor's Creek crossed the Appomattox River at High Bridge, 
about four miles east of Farmville. They there made stand 
against the Second Corps and tried to destroy the bridges. 
Retiring to Cumberland Church, four miles west on the road to 
Lynchburg, they there, with the rest of their army from Farm- 
ville, were detained all day by the attacks of the Second Corps 
and Crook's cavalry division, which had closely pursued them, 

Grant arriving at Farmville, April 7, soon after the depar- 
ture of the Confederates, again had to decide whether Lee 
was aiming for Danville or Lynchburg. The despatches of 
the day giving the impression from hour to hour are as 
follows : — 

Grant to Sheridan : J — 

" The Second Corps and Crook's cavalry are north of the river at 
this place. I have no report yet of ^appearances in their front, but 
hear contradictory reports — one that Lee is going to Maysville [for 
Lynchburg], another that he will strike south [for Danville] by roads 
farther up the river [westerly]. I think on the whole you had better 
throw your cavalry up the river toward Chickentown to watch the dif- 
ferent crossings. The Twenty-Fourth Corps will move up the south 
bank of the river. Just as this was written some of our men who were 
captured last night have returned. They state that just as they left 
about 1,000 cavalry were thrown out toward the crossings above here. 
You may be able to get into the rear of the enemy possibly. It is re- 
ported among the citizens here that Lynchburg was evacuated last night. 
I do not doubt but Stoneman is there." 

Meade to Grant, 7 p. m : 2 — 

''There has been heavy firing in the direction of Humphreys [Sec- 
ond Corps], but no report as yet. ... As far as I can judge the enemy 
is making for Lynchburg. Perhaps only making a greater detour than 
he originally designed, to get around us, and he yet meditates going to 
Danville." 

Grant to Meade, 7.45 p. m. : 3 — 

4 'Order the Fifth Corps to follow the Twenty-Fourth [Ord's] at 
6 a.m. up the Lynchburg road, the Second and Sixth to follow the 
enemy north of the river." [The road referred to was that one south 
of the river on which the cavalry were marching in advance.] 

1 97 W. R. 621. 2 ibid. 620. 3 Ibid. 621. 



108 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Sheridan (at Prospect Station, ten miles west of Farmville) 
to Grant : 1 — 

" I am moving the cavalry column on Appomattox Depot. There 
are eight trains of cars at this point to supply Lee's army. Every- 
thing is being run out of Lynchburg toward Danville. Our troops are 
reported at Liberty. This must be Stoneman. One of my scouts 
reports this. Possibly it may not be true." 

Grant to Meade, 9.30 P. m.: 2 — 

" Sheridan with his cavalry at Prospect Station. The enemy can- 
not go to Lynchburg possibly. I think there is no doubt Stoneman 
entered the city this morning. I will move my headquarters up with 
the troops in the morning, probably to Prospect Station." 

Some days earlier Thomas had started the Fourth Army 
Corps eastward in East Tennessee, and they had reached the 
mountains near the Virginia line, and Stoneman with a cavalry 
command was destroying the track and bridges of the railway 
from East Tennessee to Lynchburg, although he had not 
reached Lynchburg, as supposed by Grant. 3 Grant's con- 
fidence that Lee was not attempting to reach Lynchburg was 
probably founded, partly at least, upon the belief that he 
could not use the railroad and would not attempt to break 
through the Fourth Corps in the effort to escape into East 
Tennessee. 

The delay enforced by the battle of the Second Corps and 
cavalry on the 7th gave the Union column south of the Appo- 
mattox a lead which enabled them to pass Lee's army, and on 
the morning of April 9 to draw up in its path to bar its way 
south. The other Union column closed up in its rear. Thus 
enclosed, what remained of the gallant army of Northern 
Virginia was surrendered by its great commander. 

The campaign was as extraordinary in its brevity and rapid- 
ity as in its conclusiveness. The disproportion in the num- 
bers of the two armies was about the same as it had been 
during the previous ten months which began with the Wilder- 
ness campaign. The complete reversal in the fortunes of the 
Confederates in the last period may be attributed primarily to 
the strategy on either side which led them into battle against 
superior numbers outside of the Petersburg intrenchments and 

i 97 W. R. 633. 2 Ibid _ 6 2i. 

3 103 W. R. 778, 783; 104 W. R. 152, 153, 171, 199. 



1906.] THE APPOMATTOX* CAMPAIGN. 109 

the defence of those intrenchments with insufficient numbers ; 
to the delay in leaving Richmond ; and to inadequate prep- 
arations for retreat. Grant's strategy was faultless. It is in 
these facts, as well as in the facts that the Union army was 
well supplied and well led, and that it marched and fought 
with great spirit, rather than in any recondite circumstance, 
that the cause of the swift catastrophe to the Confederate 
arms is to be found. 

Strength of Union Army March 28 to April 9, 1865. 

March 3 1 . Present for duty equipped, 

infantry and artillery 111,266 95 W. R. 62 

Effectives reckoned at 93 per cent . 103,477 i ^' tr\ 6 % Qd 
Cavalry in Army of James reckoned 

at 85 per cent of present for duty 

equipped 2,608 N. & L. 68, 69 

Losses March 30 381 95 W. R. 803 

March 26. Effectives in Sheridan's 

cavalry 9,000 lb. 1101 

115,466 

Active Force West of the Appomattox. 

Effectives in Second Corps .... 19,685 

Losses March 31 461 95 W. R. 677 

Effectives April 1 . 19,224 

Losses April 1 and 2 462 lb. 680 

Effectives April 3 . . . . . . . 18,762 

Effectives in Fifth Corps .... 15,877 lb. 62 

Losses March 29 381 lb. 803 

Effectives March 29 ...... 16,258 

Losses March 31 1,407 lb. 819 

Effectives April 1 14,851 

Effectives in Sixth Corps .... 17,097 lb. 62 
Losses April 2 1,081 lb. 908 

Effectives April 3 16,016 

Effectives in Ninth Corps .... 16,882 lb. 62 
Losses April 2 . . 1,719 lb. 1020 

Effectives April 3 15,163 



110 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Effectives in Ord's Corps estimated 

at two-thirds of Twenty-Fourth and 

one-third of Twenty-Fifth Corps . 13,831 95 W. R. 62 
Losses March 30 to April 2 . . . . 1,743 lb. 1176, 1182 

Effectives April 3 12,088 

Effectives in Sheridan's cavalry . . . 9,000 lb. 1101 
Effectives in Mackenzie's cavalry div. 1,000 lb. 1104 

Strength of Confederate Army, 1865. 

Feb. 4-March 1. Effective infantry 

and cavalry in Army of Northern 

Virginia 46,057 95 W. R. 390 

Feb. 20. Effective artillery estimated 

at 93 per cent of 5,428 reported 

present for duty 5,048 lb. 388 

Effective artillery in Second Corps 

estimated at 1,255 

( 95 W. R. 1299 
Rosser's cavalry estimated effectives . 1,700 ] 91 W. R. 928, 929j 

( 941 
Department of Richmond .... 4,529 97 W. R. 1331 

. 58,589 

Deduct loss March 25, est. at . 4,000 \ 9 J W ' R ' 15 j> 

( Va. Camp. 321 

Deduct desertions Feb. 28 to 

March 18 1,840 ( 96 W. R. 1293 

Deduct estimated desertions < 

March 18 to 28 ... . 920 ( 97 W. R. 1353 

6,760 

Total effectives March 28 . . . 51,829 

Force West of the Appomattox. 
In Petersburg Works : 

Gordon's Corps effectives . 8,475 95 W. R. 388 

Artillery est. at one-fourth of 

other artillery .... 1,255 9,730 

Desertions Feb. 28 to March 8 144 96 W. R. 1292 

Desertions est. March 8 to 28 288 97 W. R. 1331 

Loss March 25 estimated at . 2,500 Va. Camp 321 

2,932 95 W. R. 155 

Total effectives March 28 . . . 6,798 



1906.] 



THE APPOMATTOX CAMPAIGN. 



Ill 



Davis's Brigade, Heth's Div. 

effectives 728 

McComb's Brigade, ditto . 937 

Lane's Brigade, Wilcox's ef- 
fectives 1,162 

Thomas's Brigade, ditto . . 1,018 J 



Artillery estimated at 

Loss March 25 est. . 
Desertions Feb. 28 to 



200 
4,045 



700 



March 28 est. at . 255 


955 


3,090 


Artillery not included in other com- 




mands estimated at . . 




1,500 


Total in Petersburg Works 




11,388 


Hatcher's Run to Claiborn 






Road: 






Cooke's Brigade, Heth's Divi- 


} 




sion effectives .... 


1,552 1 




MacRae's Brigade, ditto . 


1,174 f 
1,660 J 




Scale's Brigade, Wilcox's . 




Artillery estimated at 


400 


4,786 



1,085 
3,701 



Losses March 25 est. at . . 800 
Desertions Feb. 26 to March 

28 estimated at ... . 285 

Effectives March 28 . . . 
In front of Fifth Corps : 

Wise's Brigade, Johnson's Division 

effectives .,•'».'.. 

Moody's (Grade's) Brigade, ditto 
Huuton's Brigade, Pickett's Div., 

estimated at one-fourth of division 
McGowan's Brigade, Wilcox's division 
Artillery estimated at ...... 



Desertions Feb. 28 to March 28 est. at 

Effectives March 29 

One-third loss in Johnson's Division 
March 29 

Effectives March 31 5,500 



95 W. R. 389 



lb. 1285 



96 W. R. 1292 

97 W. R. 1352 



95 W. R. 389 



( 96 W. R. 
(97 W. R. 



1292 
1352 



1,544 


95 W. R. 


389 


1,208 






1,639 


lb. 388 




1.404 


lb. 389 




300 






6,095 
329 


f 96 W. R. 
1 97 W. R. 


1292 
3132 


5,766 






266 


95 W. R. 


1288 



112 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 



4,917 95 W. R. 388 



In Sheridan's front: 

Steuart's Brigade, est. at three-fourths "* 

of Pickett's Division effectives 
Corse's Brigade, ditto 
Terry's Brigade, ditto 
Ransom's Brigade, Johnson's Division 1,996 

Wallace's Brigade, ditto 2,014 95 W. R. 389 

Artillery estimated at 800 



Desertions in Pickett's bri- 


9,727 


< 96 W. 

(97 W. 


R. 1292 


gades Feb. 28 to March 29 581 




R. 1332 


Desertions in Ransom's Bri- 




(96 W. 

X seq. 


R. 1238 et 


gade Feb. 8 to March 9 . . 36 






Est. desertions to March 28 . 72 


689 


1 




Effectives March 28 


9,038 






Two-thirds loss in Johnson's Divi- 








sion March 29 


532 


95 W. 


R. 1288 


Effectives March 31 


8,506 






Fitz Lee's Cavalry Division . . . 


2,015 


95 W. 


R. 390 


W. H. F. Lee's Cavalry Division . 


1,984 


95 W. 


R. 1287 


Rosser's, estimated* from Lomax's 








Division December 19 . . . . 


1,700 


91 W 


. R. 928, 


Estimated desertions Feb. 9 to 


5,699 


941 




March 28 


500 







5,199 



For positions of the Confederate commands above named see 95 
W. R. 1263, 1264, 1285 == 1288, 1299; 97 W. R. 1379. Va. Camp. 
326, 328, 332, 355, 363. 

Mr. Charles K. Bolton read the following paper : — 

Mc Grady's Opinion of General Greene. 

McCrady's work on South Carolina in the Revolution pos- 
sesses qualities which give it a high place among authorita- 
tive and readable State histories. The volume for 1780-1783 
covers the period of Greene's campaign for the recovery of 
the Carolinas; it treats therefore of national events from a 
local point of view. The advantages of this treatment lie 
in the opportunity the author had to discuss details which a 
broader treatment could not with propriety. include. On the 



1906.] McCRADY'S OPINION OF GENERAL GREENE. 113 

other hand, the study of great movements in the light of their 
relation to a restricted territory obviously tempts an author 
to distort his perspective and to warp his judgment through 
devotion to minor heroes and loyalty to his home soil. 

Greene's relations with Sumter and Marion require only 
a passing word in a general history. But here they influ- 
ence McCrady's entire volume, because Greene's treatment of 
Sumter and his opinion of the operations of the South Caro- 
lina partisan leaders, both of them to a great extent local 
in their interest, are nevertheless factors in shaping McCrady's 
view of the Commander and his campaign. 

In the early pages of the volume McCrady gives his evi- 
dence against Greene, and devotes much space toward the 
close to a vigorous arraignment of the General as scarcely less 
hostile to South Carolina than to the British. On page 730 
the author writes : — - 

"It was not then known, it is true, how in his private correspond- 
ence, with persons of influence near Congress, he [Greene] was belit- 
tling and sneering at the conduct of her heroes, while to them he was 
writing most flattering letters ; but his flattery could scarcely conceal 
his real unfriendliness to them and to their followers, whom he de- 
scribed as serving more for plunder than from the love of liberty." 

Here we have two charges : first, that Greene was two-faced, 
in that he sneered privately at those whom he flattered in 
public ; and second, that he held the soldiers of Sumter and 
Marion to be little better than marauders. 

In fairness to Greene it must be said that his position in 
the South was made particularly difficult by circumstances 
over which he could have no control. He was of the Yankee 
race, upon which the Southerner of that day had been taught 
to look with mild and not always benevolent condescension. 
He was under forty ; Sumter and Marion, on the other hand, 
were well on toward fifty. He had a knowledge of the rules 
of war and a genius for strategy ; Sumter and Marion could 
not pretend to excel in either. In short, they did not have 
many natural ties of interest. 

In looking over the writings of Washington and others who 
touch upon this period I have found little to add to McCrady's 
own selection of material. He had a firm opinion, and it is 
fair to suppose that he based this opinion largely upon the 
materials which he places before the reader. 

15 



114 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Let us go back to the time of McCracly's narrative. It was 
the month of April, 1781. Greene had led Cornwallis a long 
chase into North Carolina, and had so discouraged him at Guil- 
ford Court House that the British General turned his eves 
still farther north toward General Phillips in Virginia as a 
needed ally. Greene, uncertain as to Cornwallis's next move, 
was hastening back to take Camden, the fort at Ninety-six, 
and the minor strongholds still in British hands in South 
Carolina. He was playing a great game, and each day was 
of vital importance. In order to carry the plan on to success 
he needed the support of every officer and man whom he could 
reach. He was not trying to worry the British as a terrier 
worries a rat, for Sumter and Marion had done that. It 
was time to give the fatal stroke with all the strength at his 
command. He called upon Marion, Lee, and Sumter for aid. 
Marion, a dashing leader in irregular warfare, and Lee, a man 
of ability and education, both supported him loyally ; Sumter 
responded in such wise that his assistance could not be relied 
upon. 

Greene in letters to Lee expressed his views on Sumter 
more frankly, perhaps, than circumstances required. Sumter, 
as head of the State militia, although appointed by a governor 
now with no government behind him, did not place himself 
willingly under Greene's leadership. He was a brave, active 
man, but arrogant and self-willed ; as a politician accustomed 
to win and to hold popularity through lax military discipline, 
he was out of harmony with the spirit of the army with 
which he was expected to co-operate. His military service had 
been of another character. The roving bands under Sumter, 
Marion, and other local leaders were small ; Sumter had 
several hundred followers, Marion one hundred or more. To 
Greene's mind, no doubt, they were poorly disciplined, but 
the occasion was pressing and he was too able a commander 
to overlook small bodies of recruits. He was obliged to keep 
their leaders friendly, and wrote to them in his hopeful, en- 
couraging, rather fulsome vein. He once said that Howard 
deserved a statue of gold no less than did the heroes of old. 
If this was flattery, his words to Sumter and Marion were 
much less deserving of that term. He called them brave men 
who have suffered for their country. 

To Marion the day before the battle of Hobkirk's Hill, 



1906.] McCRADY's OPINION OF GENERAL GREENE. 115 

which followed close upon the attempt to take Camden, 
Greene wrote : — 

" History affords no instance wherein an officer has kept possession 
of a country under so many disadvantages as you have ; surrounded on 
every side with a superior force ; hunted from every quarter with 
veteran troops, you have found means to elude all their attempts, and 
to keep alive the expiring hopes of an oppressed militia when all succor 
seemed to be cut off . . . Nothing will give me greater pleasure than 
to do justice to your merits." 

McCrady thinks Greene was insincere in these words of 
praise, because at the same time he told Washington x that their 
exertions deserved great credit, but " their endeavors rather 
seem to keep the contest alive than [to] lay any foundation 
for the recovery of these States." At the same period Greene 
told President Reed of Congress that Sumter and Marion were 
" brave and good officers," and added, " Don't be deceived in 
your expectations from this quarter ; if greater support cannot 
be given for the recovery of these States, they must and will 
remain in the hands of the enem}^." 

Here we have the gist of the evidence of " duplicity " — 
Greene encouraging Sumter and Marion at the crucial point of 
a long and daring campaign, and at the same moment telling 
the Commander-in-Chief of the army and the President of Con- 
gress that these " brave and good officers " who (as Greene 
said to Marion himself) " kept alive the expiring hopes of an 
oppressed militia " could not with this militia free the Caro- 
linas from British rule. If this plain statement to Washing- 
ton and Reed, his superiors, was deception, it was certainly 
of the mildest type. Where " war is hell," can there be no 
flattery of a half-hearted ally to keep him loyal ? 

Let us assume, for argument's sake, that McCrady suppressed 
the most incriminating evidence of Greene's alleged unfair 
treatment of Sumter. Why, then, were nearly all the chief 
leaders engaged in the campaign out of sympathy with Sumter ? 
Their united judgment throws the burden of proof upon 
McCrady if he is to re-establish Sumter's reputation as a suc- 
cessful and useful general at this period of the war. McCrady 
seems to feel this misfortune in his hero's career keenly, for 
on page 727 he enumerates Sumter's enemies with evident 
pain. He writes: — 

i McCrady, p. 178. 



116 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

" It is difficult to understand the persistent hostility of Greene and 
Lee to Sumter; it is still more so to understand the unwillingness of 
Marion to submit to his command, or even to co-operate with him, 
though appealed to by Governor Rutledge upon the subject ; but most 
of all we are at a loss to account for the manifest coolness of Governor 
Rutledge himself to one who, in the darkest hour of his country, had 
raised its fallen flag and stemmed the tide of conquest, and whom he, 
Rutledge himself, had put in command of all the militia." 

In answer to McCrady we may say that Sumter as an 
independent fighter did well "in the darkest hour of his 
country," by terrorizing British detachments and American 
loyalists ; but that he subordinated himself when Greene 
came into the field and put his soul into the work we have 
yet to be convinced. 

The other point which arrests our attention is McCrady's 
evident irritation at Greene's poor opinion of Sumter's men. 
Greene wrote of them : — 

" Generals Marion and Sumpter have a few people who adhere to 
them, perhaps more from a desire and the opportunity of plundering 
than from any inclination to promote the independence of the United 

States." 

These words Sumter quoted in a political circular to his 
constituents in 1789, and added: "View this and suppress 
your indignation if you can." McCrady curiously enough 
follows Sumter's advice years later — he reads and fails to 
suppress his indignation. But if we have other evidence that 
Sumter's men lacked the discipline of a strong hand, here 
again is presumption of an incompetent leader. 

Now, what were the conditions in 1781? The war had 
been going on for six years. The patriots who rushed to 
arms in 1775 had long ago found that the scarcity of help in 
cities and on farms had raised the price of labor and the cost 
of production. They could not support families on a private's 
pa} 7 . The usual result was that only from territory where 
homes were threatened could other than a low order of 
recruits be obtained for the army ; and at this time adven- 
turers and mercenaries constituted a large part of it. Men of 
this class, if thoroughly trained and disciplined, did nearly as 
well as those who enlisted from love of country. We know 
that Sumter's men had little training or discipline. When 



1906.] McCRADY'S OPINION OF GENERAL GREENE. 117 

Colonel Henderson took over Sumter's command, he reported 
his opinion of them : — 

" On my arrival to take command of them I found them the most 
discontented set of men I ever saw, both men and officers; a few- 
individuals excepted who regardless of any pecuniary consideration are 
determined to serve their country. The thirst after plunder that seems 
to prevail among the soldiery makes the command almost intolerable." l 

McCrady also quotes Colonel Wade Hampton : — 

" The situation in which I found this neighborhood [Friday's Ferry] 
the day after I had the honor of seeing you is truly to be lamented. 
Almost every person who remained in this settlement after the army 
marched seems to have been combined in committing robberies, the 
most base and inhuman that ever disgraced mankind." 

McCrady says that the citizens but imitated the soldiers in 
these practices. We then have evidence from McCrady's 
volume, and testimony from persons other than Greene, that 
South Carolina troops engaged in plunder. Sumter himself 
promised spoils. His plan 2 to enlist recruits by offers of a 
negro as bount}^ to each man, and pay in plunder, grew out of 
the desperate situation in which South Carolina then was. 
Sumter is not greatly to be blamed. But to expect other than 
hirelings under the system was to expect that the plant in such 
soil would produce wholly unnatural fruit. There were some 
valuable men in every company throughout the war. But why 
should South Carolina hope for a larger proportion than there 
were in other colonies ? We expect officers to reach a higher 
standard than do privates, and yet what of those from Massa- 
chusetts at the siege of Boston? Said Captain Chester : " The 
most of the companies of this Province are commanded by a 
most despicable set of officers." Said Washington : "I have 
already broke one Col° and five Captains for cowardice, or for 
drawing more pay & provisions than they had men in their 
companies." Washington, in a moment of discouragement, 
wrote that our New England troops were governed by a 
"dirty, mercenary spirit" which to some extent "pervaded 
the whole." If Washington, a Southern man serving in the 
North, and Greene, a Northern man-serving in the South, were 
out of patience at times with New England and South Caro- 

1 McCrady, p. 426. 2 jbid. p. 144. 



118 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

lina, we are hardly justified in reading into their words a pre- 
meditated and deliberate intention to stigmatize these men as 
inferior to troops in other colonies, Hasty expressions, which 
harbor some truth, are often the product of stress and conflict. 
Would McCrady, had he not narrowed his horizon to the field 
of a local history, have taken these comments of Greene so 
much to heart? 

In these ways McCrady's volume seems to me to illustrate 
the difficulty of treating national events in a work of local 
history where these events affect local reputations. On the 
other hand, McCrady in his work shows a knowledge of South 
Carolina which no general historian could hope to possess. 

Incidental remarks were made during the meeting by the 
President and Messrs. James F. Rhodes and Albert B. 
Hart. 




yU&CUAA yy4l^dL^yvt^ eyt/j^UAA 



1806.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 119 



MEMOIR 

OF 

MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 

BY HENRY W. HAYNES. 



Mellen Chamberlain was born in Pembroke, New Hamp- 
shire, June 4, 1821, the second of the five children of Moses 
and Mary (Foster) Chamberlain. The earliest known ances- 
tor of the family was Jacob Chamberlain, born about 1690, 
according to the inscription upon his gravestone in Rumney 
Marsh (now Revere), Massachusetts, where he died in 1734. 
He married, in 1714, Abigail, daughter of William Hasey, of 
Rumney Marsh. Mary Foster was the daughter of Rev. 
Abiel Foster, of Canterbury, New Hampshire, a descendant 
of John Rogers, the fifth President of Harvard College, and of 
Governor Thomas Dudley. Moses Chamberlain was a farmer, 
who also carried on the business of a country shopkeeper. 
The son helped his father in both occupations, attending the 
district schools of the town, and later the Academy in Pem- 
broke, until his fifteenth year, when the family removed to 
Concord, New Hampshire, in 1836. For the next four years 
he pursued the studies preparatory for college at the Literary 
Institute of that place, continuing to assist his father and 
teaching district schools in the winter. In 1840 he entered 
Dartmouth College, and graduated, in 1844, with a class in 
which were included an unusual number of men who after- 
wards attained distinction. During his college course he 
taught school three winters in Danvers, Massachusetts. His 
college rank was sufficiently high* for him to be chosen into 
the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of the college. All his life long 
he looked back with gratitude to his Dartmouth training, and 
ever cherished a warm affection for his classmates, which 
was fully reciprocated by them. His college on its part 



120 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

regarded him as a worthy son, arid bestowed upon him the 
honorary degree of Doctor of Laws in 1885 ; and his fellow 
alumni twice called upon him to be their spokesman in 
expressing their admiration for Dartmouth's greatest son, 
Daniel Webster, — at a dinner in 1882, and at the dedication 
of his statue in 1886. In May, 1844, a little before his 
graduation, Mr. Chamberlain was chosen principal of the high 
school at Brattleborough, Vermont, and there he remained 
until late in 1846. In an " Address at the Dedication of the 
Brooks Library Building, at Brattleborough, Vermont, Janu- 
ary 25, 1887," he gives a charming account of his life as a 
teacher, and of the town and its society, which at that time 
included a notable number of cultivated citizens and summer 
visitors of distinction, especially drawn thither by the estab- 
lishment of one of the earliest "Water Cures" in this country. 
From Brattleborough he entered the Dane Law School at 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the late autumn of 1846. He 
was soon made the Librarian, and remained there for two 
years, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1848. He 
himself says that this " situation brought him into official 
relations to the college, and afforded him social privileges, 
which otherwise he could not have had." Among the most 
valued of these he regarded the opportunity of passing some 
months in the capacity of private tutor in the family of Chan- 
cellor Kent at Kent Place, Summit, New Jersey. In January, 
1849, he was admitted to the bar in Boston, and opened a law 
office on Washington Street, which he shared with the late 
John S. Holmes. Later he removed to No. 35 Court Street, 
where the late Seth Webb was his office companion, and after 
Webb the present writer shared the office with him from 1856 
to 1867. On June 6, 1849, he was married to Martha Ann, 
daughter of Colonel Jesse Putnam, of Danvers, Massachu- 
setts, whose acquaintance he had made during his terms of 
school teaching in that town, in his college course. In a let- 
ter to his father, written from the Law School at Cambridge, 
October 3, 1848, he says : — 

u I intended to have entered my profession about this time, but the 
retirement of the old professors brought on new ones, who knew 
nothing of the affairs of the school, and they insisted upon my staying 
this terra, which I agreed to do for three hundred dollars extra. . . . 
On the first of January I shall have seven hundred and thirty dollars 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 121 

in pocket. If there is any such thing as luck in the world, I have had 
it. True, I have worked like a dog and lived like a miser. ... 1 have 
arranged to get married, and suppose that my money will carry us to 
January, 1850, when the purse will be empty. At twenty-eight one 
may get married, and it becomes a matter of necessity, when one has 
lived so long alone as I have. But notwithstanding the apparent rash- 
ness of this step I have no fear. My life will be insured, so that in 
case I should be taken away, Martha will not be left destitute, and 
that 's all I care about. But I will not anticipate that. Ten years 
unassisted toil have given me, strength and power to do and to dare. 
You will gather from what I write that I am in excellent spirits ; 
I am so." 

His anticipations were fully realized ; his marriage brought 
him at once into a large and agreeable family circle, and his 
professional earnings proved sufficient for their modest wants. 
He soon began to secure a considerable office business, to 
which was added a fair share of court practice, and he also 
reported court business for the " Boston Advertiser." But his 
main occupation was that of a conveyancer. Two or three 
large farms in Chelsea began to be cut up for building pur- 
poses about this time, and the Winnisimmet Land Company 
concluded to sell all of its extensive holdings. Mr. Cham- 
berlain began a thorough study of the titles to all the real 
estate in Chelsea, and his knowledge became so extensive that 
hardly a land title could be passed in that community without 
consulting him. The results of his investigations were con- 
signed to twelve large folio volumes, which by his last will 
were bequeathed to the city of Chelsea and have been placed 
in its Public Library. 

Immediately upon their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlain 
went to live in Chelsea. After several changes of residence 
he built a comfortable house, pleasantly situated on Washing- 
ton Avenue, upon the western slope of Powderhorn Hill, 
with ample grounds in the rear in which to cultivate fruits 
and flowers. There he passed the remainder of his life. Mrs. 
Chamberlain died suddenly, April 25, 1887, leaving no chil- 
dren. Their union was a signally happy one, and from her 
loss he never recovered. Their home was the centre of much 
intellectual life, at which for many years gathered weekly a 
class of young people of both sexes for the study, under his 
guidance, of English and American literature. In his later 

16 



122 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

years Mr. Chamberlain was in the habit of passing a portion of 
every summer at Boar's Head, Hampton Beach, where he was 
accustomed to meet a congenial company of friends, of whom 
the late Governor and Mrs. Charles H. Bell, of New Hamp- 
shire, and our associate member Rev. Dr. Slafter, were among 
his most intimate companions. 

Soon after his establishment in Chelsea Mr. Chamberlain 
began to be called upon by his fellow citizens for various sorts 
of public service, as school committee man, selectman, alder- 
man, on the organization of the city, in 1857, and for six years 
as City Solicitor. In 1858-1859 he was chosen a Representa- 
tive to the General Court from the Thirteenth Suffolk District, 
and was made a member of the special committee on the Re- 
vision of the Statutes. In 1863-1864 he was elected to the 
State Senate, and during the latter year was the chairman of 
the Judiciary Committee. Those who served with him in the 
legislature were accustomed to speak of his public services as 
of great value, and to esteem his powers as a debater as of a 
high order. He was an excellent public speaker, logical and 
impressive, while his remarkable memory readily supplied 
him with an abundance of illustrations to enforce and enliven 
his arguments, and his tall and erect figure, his dignified 
bearing, and his strong and commanding countenance lent 
additional energy to his words. 

On June 29, 1866, he was appointed by Governor Bullock 
an Associate Justice of the newly created Municipal Court of 
the City of Boston. Mr. George B. Chase, in a most sym- 
pathetic tribute to his memory before this Society, 1 has given 
an amusing account of the circumstances of this appointment. 
From June, 1866, to December, 1870, he served as Associate 
Justice, and then was appointed by Governor Claflin Chief 
Justice, which office he continued to hold till August, 1878. 
His services on the bench thus cover a period of twelve 
years. Mr. Chase has also quoted the opinion of one of his 
associates, the late Chief Justice Parmenter, as to his special 
qualifications for the office, and the method and quality of his 
work in it. 

In the summer of 1875 Judge Chamberlain made a visit of 
six months to Europe, where his taste for art, scenery, his- 

1 2 Proceedings, vol. xiv. p. 273. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 123 

tory, and literature was amply gratified. His letters home 
were exceedingly entertaining. Several of them appeared in 
the Boston newspapers, and attracted more than usual atten- 
tion. In England and Ireland he took every opportunity to visit 
the courts, and always received a most polite welcome. 

In August, 1878, Judge Chamberlain was called to be the 
Librarian of the Boston Public Library, succeeding our late 
associate Justin Winsor. This position he continued to hold 
until October, 1890, when he resigned on account of failing 
health, after another twelve years' term of faithful service. The 
circumstances of this appointment are amusingly told by Mr. 
Chase in an account of his interview with our late associate 
Mr. William W. Greenough, for so many years the President 
of the Board of Trustees of the Library. His first report as 
Librarian 1 shows how strenuously he took hold of his new 
duties, and what fresh measures he suggested, most of which 
have become a part of the permanent administration of the 
Library. Among these were the appointment of a night 
watchman to insure protection against fire, and the installa- 
tion of a self-registering clock to make certain his actual 
presence ; a thorough examination of the Library to discover 
its most important deficiencies, mainly incomplete sets of 
periodicals, serials, and continued works, and a permanent 
arrangement by which these could be gradually secured; and 
the employment of a bookbinder to take down each volume 
from the shelves, dust it, and make any needed repairs to the 
binding ; by this measure the annual closing of the Library for 
cleaning purposes could be dispensed with. But his most im- 
portant suggestion was for a conference with the Superin- 
tendent of Public Schools, our late associate Dr. Samuel 
Eliot, and a committee of the masters of the schools to devise 
some system whereby in his own words " the best literature 
of the Public Library shall find its way into the public schools 
. . . and become an instrument in the hands of the public 
teacher of imparting knowledge at the public expense to those 
whom the city is under legal obligations to educate." He 
also makes the recommendation that " a course of lectures be 
established . . . designed to induce the critical and apprecia- 
tive reading of the best things in literature by those who 

1 Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Trustees of the Public Library, 1879, 
p. 17. 



124 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

might repair to them for instruction, as there always is in 
every community a considerable number of persons who would 
gladly avail themselves of such opportunities." It has taken 
some time to realize, but we all now perceive what substantial 
fruit this wise and far-seeing suggestion was destined to pro- 
duce in these later years. In his annual report of the follow- 
ing year 1 he says : — 

" In my annual report of last year I suggested to the Trustees the 
propriety of setting apart some portion of the annual appropriation for 
books to meet the requisitions of the teachers of the public schools by 
the purchase of such books as in their judgment might be useful to their 
pupils, and those to have their local habitation in the several houses 
under their charge, but always to remain the property of the Public 
Library. . . . Some difficulties arose with respect to these requests. 
In the first place there were no more than two or three copies, instead 
of fifty, of each in the Library, and no funds from which they could 
properly be purchased ; and secondly, the nature of the loans and the 
time for which they were desired were in contravention of the Library 
rules." 

Eventually the books were purchased from funds supplied 
from a private source, presented to the Library and accepted 
by the Trustees, upon the condition that they should be 
loaned according to the wishes of the donor. After a year's 
use in one of the schools they were returned in good order to 
fulfil similar requisitions for other schools. The reading of 
these books was not a part of the regular school exercises ; 
each pupil was expected to read his copy at home, as he 
would read any other books taken from the Public Library, 
but to be examined once a week upon what was thus read. 
The cost of the experiment for a year was less than fifty dol- 
lars. Thus was taken the first step in the important work of 
supplying " supplementary reading matter " to the schools 
from the Public Library. Another improvement suggested 
was to have important new English publications forwarded 
promptly by mail for the use of the patrons of the Library, 
instead of waiting to have them sent in the usual slow 
course of purchases by the foreign agents of the Library. He 
also introduced a method of covering with linen canvas the 
heavy, costly volumes, that were subjected to great wear and 

i Report, 1880, p. 19. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 125 

tear in their use, and this style of binding has been substan- 
tially adopted for the greater portion of the books newly 
added to the Library, and of the older volumes as their 
binding wears out. 

Such were some of the new ideas introduced into the man- 
agement of the institution by the new Librarian. Though it 
cannot be claimed that he developed remarkable executive 
ability in this office, he certainly made a satisfactory officer in 
all of his relations with the public; and he won the respect 
and affection of all its employees, from the highest to the 
lowest. The opinion of his services held by the Trustees, of 
whom the writer was one during nearly the whole of his term 
of office, is manifested by the tenor of the resolutions adopted 
by them on accepting his resignation : — 

" Whereas, Hon. Mellen Chamberlain has been constrained by the 
impaired condition of his health to resign the office of Librarian of 
the Public Library, and the Trustees have reluctantly accepted his 
resignation, to take effect on the First day of October next. 

Voted, That the Trustees hereby place upon their records the expres- 
sion of their regret for the loss which the Library must sustain in no 
longer benefiting by the services of so accomplished and so faithful a 
scholar as Judge Chamberlain has shown himself to be during his 
twelve years of service. 

Voted, That the special attainments of the Librarian in the study 
of early American history have proved of essential advantage to the 
Library in bringing up that department to the high standing that had 
already been reached in other branches of knowledge. 

Voted, That the Trustees hereby convey to Judge Chamberlain the 
expression of their respect and regard, their regrets that their pleasant 
intimate relations must cease ; their hope that his enforced leisure may 
result in restored health, and their wish that his life may long be spared 
to give to the world from his stores of knowledge." 

The antiquarian tastes of Judge Chamberlain were devel- 
oped in his early youth, and were fostered after his removal to 
Concord, New Hampshire, in 1836, by his intimacy with John 
Farmer, the archivist of the State of New Hampshire, whom 
he assisted in some of his historical and genealogical investi- 
gations. He began at that time to gather his remarkable col- 
lection of autographs, to which he afterwards added such 
letters, documents, and other manuscript material, portraits, 
and engravings, as he could obtain by exchange with other 



126 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

collectors, and by purchase as his income increased. He was 
an indefatigable searcher of old garrets and all out-of-the- 
way repositories of letters and other papers, making repeated 
journeys throughout New England for that purpose, and 
numbered among his correspondents, with whom he made con- 
stant exchanges, all the prominent collectors of this country; 
among whom were his boyhood friend, Dr. George H. Moore, 
of the Lenox Library in New York, Dr. Sprague, of Albany, 
Mr. Taft, of Savannah, and Mr. Gilmore, of Baltimore ; from 
the latter he obtained Southern autographs and documents. 
Personally, or by order, he attended all the autograph sales 
in this country, and through dealers' catalogues added to his 
stores by purchase from England, France, and Germany. Thus 
his collection gradually grew to be of incalculable value, and 
it became a matter of great anxiety with him to decide what 
to do with it. To prevent the possibility of its ultimate dis- 
persal, if left to his heirs, he concluded to provide by his last 
will that it should become the property of the Boston Public 
Library. In 1893, seven years before his death, he made an 
arrangement with the Trustees that it should be deposited in 
a room to be specially prepared for it in the new Library build- 
ing and set apart as its permanent home, though he retained 
his property in it during his lifetime. It will hardly be neces- 
sary to attempt to give here an account of its treasures, as 
the Trustees published, in 1897, " A Brief Description of the 
Chamberlain Collection of Autographs, now deposited in the 
Public Library of the City of Boston." This was based in 
part upon an elaborate article, contributed by the late Rev. 
Julius H. Ward, to the " Boston Sunday Herald," of April 7, 
1895, from memoranda furnished by Judge Chamberlain him- 
self. To this publication the Trustees added, in 1898, a sup- 
plement containing " The Texts of the Four Great Documents," 
reprints of " The Address to the King, 1774," the " Declara- 
tion of Independence (1776)," the " Articles of Confedera- 
tion (1777)," and the " Constitution of the United States 
(1787)." To these texts are affixed the autographs of the 
respective signers. These four texts have been removed from 
the rest of the collection, and with a series of sixty -three 
framed tablets, made up also of detached autograph signatures, 
grouped and illustrated by portraits, biographical sketches, 
and historical notes, are now displayed upon the walls of the 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 127 

room for Younger Readers. These two pamphlets, however, 
are intended only to be preliminary to a complete description 
and analysis of the whole collection, now in course of prepa- 
ration ; they are sufficient, however, to indicate that The 
Chamberlain Collection of Autographs and Manuscripts will 
eventually prove one of the richest sources of information 
available for the students of American History, a worthy 
monument to the memory of its creator. 

A very interesting example of Judge Chamberlain's skill 
and judicial temperament in the investigation of questions 
bearing upon the genuineness of autograph signatures can be 
found in a note, appended to the " Bulletin of the Boston 
Public Library, No. 79, May, 1889," upon an " Autograph 
which may be Shakespeare's." In 1880 a copy of North's 
Plutarch, 1603, had been purchased by the Library, which, 
though complete and in the original binding, was in bad con- 
dition and was consequently sent to the bindery for repairs. 
There was found to be a fold of parchment, about two inches 
wide, running the entire length of the hinge of the cover, 
a strip of paper of the same width and length, together with 
two or more shorter strips, on one of which at the beginning 
of the volume were written the words " William Shakespeare, 
hundred and twenty poundes." The paper bearing the name 
of Shakespeare is a fold, organically a part of the volume 
when it was purchased, as appeared by the sewing, but at 
what time the name was written on it is the important ques- 
tion. The strips of paper at the end of the volume also con- 
tained some writing, a couple of Latin quotations which must 
have been there when the volume was originally bound. All 
of these writings, including that containing the name of 
Shakespeare, though not in the same ink, are in the ink and 
handwriting of the seventeenth century, and probably were 
concealed from view until the linings of the inside covers 
became detached. There was also a worm-hole, running 
through the parchment, the title-page, and three hundred 
and ten pages of the text. This hole pierced between the 
words "and" and "twenty," in the Shakespeare writing, and 
it must have been bored after the writing was made, as other- 
wise the pen would have caught upon its edges, which plainly 
did not happen. Judge Chamberlain proceeds to discuss the 
question whether it is an autograph writing, and whether it 



128 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

is in the handwriting of Shakespeare, at considerable length 
and with great acuteness. Quoting the opinion of three ex- 
perts, collectors of autographs of long experience, he concluded 
that the writing is an original signature, not a man's name 
written by another, or an imitation. He insists that the writ- 
ing bears a strong resemblance to the known genuine signa- 
tures of Shakespeare, and discusses the possibility of its being 
a forgery ; deciding against its being such, and laying stress 
upon his familiarity with the history of historical, literary, and 
autograph forgeries in England and America. His conclusion 
is that " the Library autograph presents more reasons in favor 
of its genuineness and too few objections to warrant an ad- 
verse judgment." Eight process plates are appended to the 
article showing the title-page, with the paper fold at the hinge 
containing the worm-hole, also the same turned back upon the 
cover, the hinge at the end of the volume, with the strips of 
parchment and paper bearing writing, and the same with the 
strip turned down disclosing writing otherwise concealed ; 
there are also added four pages of facsimiles of Shakespeare's 
autographs, together with enlargements of the same and also 
of the Ireland forgeries and of the Library signature. 

Judge Chamberlain was elected into the Massachusetts 
Historical Society January 9, 1873, and immediately began 
to take a prominent part in its proceedings. He delighted 
in his membership, and was most assiduous in his attendance 
at the meetings. To its published volumes he made numer- 
ous valuable and interesting contributions, while in the dis- 
cussions that arose he was ever ready to draw upon his stores 
of knowledge with a fulness and accuracy of memory truly 
remarkable. He served frequently upon the committees, 
from 1885 to 1888 was a member of the Executive Committee 
of the Council, and presented the annual report in 1888. 
The notes contributed by him as one of the editors of Sewall's 
Letter-Book, 1886-1888, are marked by his usual thorough- 
ness and accuracy. He was also one of the members of the 
Committee to publish a volume of Belcher Papers, in 1892, 
and in 1894 was made one of the Publication Committee of 
the Bowdoin and Temple Papers. 

Since his contributions to the successive volumes of our 
Proceedings form a substantial portion of his published work 
and are of great variety and of exceptional value, it seems 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 129 

advisable to give a complete list of them, with the volumes 
in which they can be found, in order to facilitate ready refer- 
ence to them. His first paper was a " Sketch of the Life of 
Rev. Samuel Henly " (Vol. XV. p. 230). Next appeared a 
study of "The Currency Question in Provincial Times " (Vol. 
XX. p. 32); and in the same volume (p. 223), a discussion 
of "The Charges against Samuel Adams." 

In the first volume of the second series (p. 211) he gave 
an account of the remarkable very early "Map of Eastern 
Massachusetts,'' discovered by our associate Mr. Henry F. 
Waters, in the Sloane Collection of the British Museum, and 
published by the Trustees of the Boston Public Library in the 
Bulletin for October, 1884, from which it was reproduced in 
Winsor's "Narrative and Critical History of America" (Vol. 
III. p. 381). In the same volume of our Proceedings (p. 273) 
appeared a notable paper on " The Authentication of the 
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776," in which, after a 
thorough study of the original records and of all the available 
evidence, he proves that the signing did not take place upon 
the Fourth of July. He suggests that the Declaration should 
have been preceded by some such recital as the following : 
"The foregoing Declaration having been agreed to on July 4th 
by the delegates of the thirteen united Colonies, and the same 
having been engrossed, is now subscribed, agreeably to a Reso- 
lution passed July 19th, by the Members of Congress present 
this 2nd day of August, 1776." On page 266 of the same 
volume he showed that "Samuel Maverick's House" was not 
built on Noddle's Island, East Boston, some time before 1628, 
as stated by Edward Johnson in his " Wonder-working Provi- 
dence," but was erected in 1625, — as he himself states in 
the valuable manuscript, " A Brief Description of New Eng- 
land, etc.," discovered by Mr. Waters in the British Museum 
and printed on page 236 of the same volume of our Pro- 
ceedings, — and .was built in " Winnisime," upon land now 
in the grounds of the United States Marine Hospital in 
Chelsea. 

In Vol. II. 2d ser. p. 122, he told of an interesting episode 
in the history of " The Old Province House," which had 
escaped the notice of local antiquaries : its occupation by 
the Earl of Bellomont, when Governor, for fourteen months, 
from the latter part of May, 1699. On pages 275-305 of the 

17 



130 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

same volume he printed a Journal of Captain Henry Dearborn 
on " Arnold's Expedition to Quebec." 

For the next volume (Vol. III. 2d ser. pp. 102-133), he 
contributed three other "Journals of Captain Henry Dear- 
born," belonging to the Boston Public Library and covering 
the period from July 25, 1776, to March 1, 1783. On page 
371 he called attention to the new edition of the " Massachu- 
setts Colonial Laws," in the Revision of 1672, published under 
the editorial supervision of our late associate Mr. William H. 
Whitmore, and he has no doubt that this will stimulate, and 
go very far to answer, inquiry on a great many subjects of 
historical interest. Among matters instanced was the fact 
that the General Court of Massachusetts had passed laws 
going far beyond the Acts of Parliament that were supposed 
to give validity to Writs of Assistance in the Colonies, which 
were so grievous to our ancestors a hundred years later. So, 
too, the requirement that revenue cases should be tried in 
Admiralty, which caused much dissatisfaction when enacted 
by Parliament, was in substance the Massachusetts law of 
1674. Also we find, among other invasions of the King's 
prerogative, that the Colonists apparently claimed the right 
to grant and annul patents. 

In Vol. IV. 2d ser. p. 48, Judge Chamberlain gave an 
account of the efforts of Samuel Adams to safeguard " New 
England Fisheries" in the negotiations for peace with Great 
Britain, as proved by the original draft of documents in 
Adams's handwriting in his own possession. On page 82 
of the same volume he printed the first eight pages of the 
" Journal of the Committee of Correspondence " of Massa- 
chusetts, with the other Colonies, in 1773, from the original 
in the possession of the Boston Public Library. 

To Vol. V. 2d ser. p. 265, he contributed a paper on " The 
New Historical School,' 7 devoted principally to criticism of 
the late Professor Alexander Johnston's " History of Con- 
necticut." As a disciple of Edward A. Freeman, Professor 
Johnston had propounded the theory that Connecticut towns 
came originally from the forests of Germany to England, and 
from England to Massachusetts Bay, whence three of them 
(Watertown, Newton, and Dorchester) migrated to Connec- 
ticut as organizations, and there, in 1669, set up a common- 
wealth as the result of their joint corporate action ; that these 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 131 

towns having created a commonwealth, became a pattern for 
towns in other commonwealths ; and so happily had their sys- 
tem of confederated towns worked, and especially in relation 
to the commonwealth, that the Connecticut delegation in 
the Convention of 1787 was able to persuade that body to 
form the Constitution of the United States on the same basis, 
— the Senate with its equal and unalterable representation of 
sovereign States answering to the independent Connecticut 
towns, and the House of Representatives answering to the 
Connecticut Council, both being elected by popular vote. 
To this reasoning Judge Chamberlain replies that the fallacy 
of this scheme lies in its theory respecting towns : their 
existence independent of some sovereign power, and in call- 
ing the towns the political cell from which the common- 
wealth was evolved. A town can be the germ of nothing 
but a greater town, never of a commonwealth. The rights 
and duties of towns are communal, and for such rights 
and duties they may provide ; but even these powers are 
delegated, not inherent. The rights and duties of the State 
primarily concern sovereignty, external relations, and general 
laws affecting the inhabitants of all the State. He then 
proceeds to state his own views of the question : that our 
English ancestors did not bring with them English towns or 
English churches or British institutions ; but as occasion 
required they builded for themselves, as Englishmen always 
and everywhere had done and still do. Analogies do not con- 
stitute identities, instincts are not institutions ; nor does simi- 
larity of design or adaptation of institutions indicate heredity, 
or even relationship. " The genesis of American Common- 
wealths," according to his view, "is historically clear: (1) 
They originated with mere adventurers for fishing, hunting, 
or trading, who, without territorial ownership or by state 
authority, established themselves on the coast. Among these, 
though with other views, must be included the Pilgrims, 
driven out of their course by adverse circumstances, as well 
as the first settlers of Rhode Island and Connecticut. (2) 
They originated with those who had purchased lands and 
obtained charters from the crown. (3) They were founded 
under Proprietary governments. (4) They were founded 
as Royal governments." Judge Chamberlain admits that the 
Connecticut delegation had great influence in the Conven- 



132 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

tion : first, because Sherman, Johnson, and Ellsworth were 
very able men, and the only three very able men from any 
State who worked together ; and, secondly, because Connec- 
ticut, being neither one of the largest nor one of the smallest 
States, held a position of great influence as a mediator between 
the two classes of States. 

In the same volume (Vol. V. 2d ser. p. 313) Judge Cham- 
berlain gave an account of the sale of the Aspinwall-Barlow 
Library in New York, February 3-8, 1890. This sale at- 
tracted great attention in Boston, as the City Council had made 
a special appropriation of $20,000 for the purchase of rare and 
costly books on American history not to be found in the Public 
Library. He recounts the history of the Library, so far as it 
could be discovered, and gives a statement of the valuable 
purchases made from it, of which a complete list can be found 
in Bulletin of the Public Library, No. 82, October, 1890, pp. 
359-376. The most important acquisitions were a Latin copy 
of the first work ever printed about the discovery of America 
— a translation of the First Letter of Columbus to the King 
and Queen of Spain in 1493. The price paid was $2,900 ; and 
though the copy is not unique, it is very rare, as only four other 
copies are known,-— two in the British Museum, one in the 
Royal Library in Munich, and one in that of Mr. Bray ton Ives 
in New York. It has been claimed for this edition that it is 
the earliest of all that were published ; but this is not Mr. Win- 
sor's opinion, who states that there may be about thirty copies 
known of the eight editions, and of all these not more than 
five or six are ever likely to come on the market. 1 The Trus- 
tees of the Library immediately published a facsimile of the 
letter, in the Library Bulletin referred to, with a translation 
into English bj r Mr. R. H. Major; but as that translation was 
made from a different Latin text, of another edition, the pres- 
ent writer, at the request of his colleagues, prepared a new 
translation, which was printed separately in 1891. Besides 
the Columbus Letter there was purchased, for the sum of 
16,500, " A true copie of the Court Booke of the Governor and 
Society of Massachusetts Bay in New England." This is the 
most perfect copy known of the first volume (in manuscript) 
of the Massachusetts Colony Records, and contains historical 
matter of great importance nowhere else to be found. The 
1 2 Proceedings, vol. v. p. 307. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 133 

precise date of the copy, though very early, has not been ascer- 
tained ; but it is certain that some marginal notes are in the 
handwriting of Governor Richard Bellingham, which adds 
weight to the suggestion that this was the official copy. Inas- 
much as this costly purchase was made solely to prevent so im- 
portant an historical document relating to our own State from 
passing into other than Massachusetts hands, it seems to be 
eminently fitting that the Commonwealth should assume the 
cost and the ownership, and that its final resting-place should 
be in the State Library, as a companion to the manuscript 
volume of Governor Bradford's History. 1 

To Vol. VI. 2d ser. p. 258, of our Proceedings Judge Cham- 
berlain contributed a " Memorial of Daniel Leonard," Chief 
Justice of Bermuda, to the Lords Commissioners of the Treas- 
ury in reference to his salary in that office, and called attention 
to the singular circumstance that it was nearly fifty years after 
the publication of the " Massachusettensis" Letters, in reply 
to those of John Adams, under the signature of " Novanglus," 
before Adams learned that their author was Leonard, having 
always attributed them to Jonathan Sewall. On page 400 
of the same volume he showed that John Trumbull, in his 
" McFingal," had alluded to the controversy in a way that points 
to Leonard as the author, and makes it quite clear that it was 
not Sewall. Later, on page 401, he gave certain particulars 
relative to Nathaniel Rogers, a Boston merchant, a graduate of 
Harvard, in 1762, who contributed the preface to Wood's 
"New England's Prospect.'' Rogers wrote from Boston to 
Thomas Whately, in London, December 12, 1768, one among 
the " Hutchinson Letters," in which he proposes his own 
appointment to the place of Secretary of the Colony, when 
Andrew Oliver, then Secretary, should be advanced to the 
Lieutenant-Governorship. His death, in 1770, defeated this 
purpose. On page 433 of the same volume he printed a " Me- 
morial of Captain Charles Cochrane," presumably addressed to 
Lord George Germaine, setting forth his military career in this 
country from the arrival of the British army at Boston in 1774. 
Captain Cochrane was killed at Yorktown, October 17, 1781, 
the only officer of the British army who fell during the siege. 

To Vol. VII. 2d ser. p. 127, of our Proceedings Judge 
Chamberlain contributed an article on " Governor Winthrop's 

1 It was printed in 1890 in Whitmore's " Bibliographical Sketch of the Laws 
of the Massachusetts Colony," p. xxv, and in 1904 in Noble's " Records of the 
Court of Assistants," vol. ii. p. 115. 



134 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Estate," with a facsimile of an unrecorded deed from him to 
John Newgate of lands in Rumney Marsh (Chelsea), drawn and 
witnessed by Thomas Lechford, the lawyer, now in the pos- 
session of Charles P. Greenough, Esq. He adds: " Winthrop's 
allotment is in plain sight of my own house, and in the last 
thirty years I have often climbed its rounded height, and never, 
I think, without consciousness that it was once Winthrop's ; 
but not until within a few months have I known that it was 
in any way associated with so pathetic an incident in the life 
of one who by great service and high character gained the 
esteem and love of his contemporaries, and has since taken his 
place among the founders of states." The " pathetic incident " 
referred to was the serious impairment of Governor Winthrop's 
property, owing to the rascality of his bailiff, James Luxford, 
by which he lost everything but honor. Later in the same 
volume (p. 214) he took part in the discussion on " The 
Genesis of the Massachusetts Town," carried on between 
Mr. Adams, Mr. Goodell, Professor Channing, and himself! 
In his portion he develops at considerable length arguments 
employed in his paper upon u The New Historical School " ; 
but devotes especial attention to the k * parochial theory," 
which traces the origin of the New England town to the Eng- 
lish parish. In this connection he studies with great care the 
reasoning of Toulmin Smith, who claims that in England the 
parish antedates the town, and that its original functions were 
secular and not ecclesiastical, and shows the impossibility of 
its application to the origin of New England towns. As to 
their origin he says that there are at least three theories, — that 
they were native to the soil, that they were copies of English 
prototypes as those were of German, or that they were essen- 
tially reproductions of the English parish. Judge Chamberlain 
argues for the first theory, — that the origin and development 
of the town were due to certain conditions peculiar to them- 
selves. The sporadic settlements in New England were made 
on territory not capable of instant and effective protection by 
an acknowledged, sovereign, so that the inhabitants were forced 
to postpone communal affairs to affairs of state, such as war and 
peace, territorial limits, jurisdiction, and defence. From the 
first those village communities exercised certain rights and 
performed certain duties, not unlike those which afterwards ap- 
pertained to them as incorporated towns. By common consent 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 135 

they divided some lands among themselves, and held other 
lands for common use ; in both cases assuming corporate owner- 
ship, so far at least as to make good title in the allottees. Then 
followed, later, the erection of these communities into bodies 
politic, owing their corporate existence to, and exercising all 
their functions in strict subordination to the paramount 
power, the State. Finally, as early as 1636, there was promul- 
gated in Massachusetts a setting forth of their rights, powers, 
and duties with a completeness and precision to which the 
advanced civilization of two and a half centuries has found 
little to add. He then goes into a detailed account of all those 
original scattered settlements by name, arguing that their 
records from what may be called the historic period, though 
meagre, throw some light upon the antecedent period. Finally, 
he enters into an examination of Mr. Adams's paper, which had 
preceded his own, and shows in what respects they agree and 
in what they differ. 

In Vol. VIII. 2d ser. p. 108, treating of " The Transfer of 
the Colony Charter," he showed that the King's Charter, dated 
March 4, 1629, granted to the purchasers from the Plymouth 
Council, constituted them a body corporate with power to 
establish two governments, — one for themselves as a corpora- 
tion in England, and another for the colonists or plantation in 
Massachusetts Bay, and that this dual government under the 
Charter has been misunderstood by many writers, including 
Mr. Doyle in his "History of the Puritan Colonies." On 
page 123 of the same volume may be found an article by him 
on " The Talcott Papers," which form Volume IV. of the Col- 
lections of the Connecticut Historical Society. These consist 
of papers, correspondence, and documents (chiefly official) 
during Joseph Talcott's governorship of the Colony of Con- 
necticut, 1721-1741. The most interesting subject comprised 
in this volume has to do with the celebrated law-suit of John 
Winthrop, grandson of Governor John Winthrop, of Connec- 
ticut, against his sister Ann, wife of Thomas Lechmere. Ac- 
cording to the laws of Connecticut, the landed estate of John 
Winthrop's father, Wait Winthrop, dying intestate, would be 
distributed by giving a double portion to the oldest son and 
the remaining third to his sister. But, dissatisfied with this 
division, he claimed the whole of the realty, as he would be 
entitled to do by the laws of England, on the ground that the 



136 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Colony law was invalid, being in contravention of the Charter 
of King Charles II., in 1662, which forbade the making of any 
law " contrary to the laws of this realm of England." This 
was not the view taken by Thomas Lechmere and his wife, 
and in 1724 they began proceedings to recover one-third of 
the real estate. These proceedings, brought before different 
courts in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and England, terminated 
in a decree of the King in Council, February 15, 1728, which 
declared the Connecticut law void, reversed the judgments of 
her courts, and gave the whole real estate to John Winthrop. 
The appalling result of this decree can be easily understood ; 
it affected every person in Connecticut ; it reversed the policy 
of the distribution and the settlement of estates, which had 
prevailed from the beginning in Connecticut and the other 
New England colonies ; it unsettled the foundations of prop- 
erty, and threatened universal litigation in families. In this 
alarming exigency the first question was as to the likelihood 
of the reversal of the decree as matter of law ; or if not, 
whether the King by a supplementary charter would rescind 
that clause, which forbade their passing any law contrary to 
the law of England ; and if this lay outside of his power or 
will, then could and would Parliament do so? In the un- 
settled state of the royal prerogatives Connecticut might well 
doubt whether to seek relief from the King or from Parlia- 
ment ; and as it turned out, she could apply to neither with 
safety. Judge Chamberlain gives a most interesting narrative 
of every step taken in the long course of proceedings by the 
various counsel of Connecticut before the King in Council and 
the Board of Commissioners for Trade and Plantations, from 
1728 down to July 18, 1745, when, after a case, essentially the 
same, carried by appeal from Massachusetts to the King in 
Council, had been decided differently, and the Massachusetts 
law, although contrary to the English law, had been sustained, 
the original decree was reversed, the ancient law restored, 
and the peril to the charter avoided. Incidentally Judge 
Chamberlain discusses the question of the constitutional rela- 
tions of the Colonies to the King and to Parliament, in their 
progress towards independence of both. He shows that the 
Colonies in their disputes about their boundaries, or conflicting 
grants within their own limits, based their respective claims on 
grants from the King as rightful owner of the fee of lands dis- 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 137 

covered under the English flag ; yet, when their exigencies 
required, they sought the intervention of Parliament against 
the King, and whenever they deemed it safe, they practically 
denied the authority of both. So Parliament, though recog- 
nizing the King's property in colonial lands, and his jurisdiction 
over their inhabitants, yet gradually began to invade his pre- 
rogatives, and finally transferred them to itself. The British 
statutes are full of acts regulating colonial domestic trade, 
manufactures, finance, and internal government, all of which 
are really prerogative matters. Thus we see that colonial 
affairs were an important factor in British constitutional 
progress. 

In Vol. IX. 2d ser. p. 105, Judge Chamberlain brought to 
the attention of our Society the fact that the inhabitants of 
Chelsea, on December 14, 1781, made a contribution of 
money "for the distressed inhabitants of South Carolina and 
Georgia, who are driven from their habitations by the British 
troops." No mention of this had ever been made by any 
historian of Massachusetts, known to him, and it seems to 
have been entirely forgotten. 

To Vol. X. 2d ser. p. 463, he contributed some extracts 
from a lost Diary of Samuel Holten, a member of the Conti- 
nental Congress, from Massachusetts, 1778-1783; and also a 
paper, believed to be in the handwriting of William Paca, a 
signer of the Declaration of Independence, from Maryland, 
containing the substance of a conversation of Mr. James 
Wilson, a signer of the Declaration and afterwards Judge of 
the Supreme Court of the United States, about the serious 
condition of American affairs in March, 1778. On page 503 of 
the same volume he printed certain extracts from manuscripts 
of General William Chamberlin, relating to the Battle of 
Bennington, and some doggerel verses descriptive of the 
fight. 

To Vol. XI. 2d ser. pp. 286-299, he contributed an inter- 
esting review of the principal contents of the Bowdoin and 
Temple Papers, then just published by our Society. He 
believes that these writings will enhance the already high 
reputation of James Bowdoin, and serve to modify somewhat 
the historic judgment respecting his son-in-law, Sir John 
Temple, as well as to throw light upon the true history of 
the American Revolution and upon two conspicuous actors 

18 



138 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

therein. Incidentally he criticises Bancroft's historical work, 
as impaired by its manifest partisanship, notwithstanding its 
great and manifest excellences. Judge Chamberlain wonders 
why James Bowdoin is never mentioned with " the Otises, the 
Adamses, the Warrens, and the Hancocks," for he rendered 
services second to those of no other, and under circumstances 
which ordinarily disqualify a man for leadership in a revolu- 
tion. Neither his independent fortune, nor his aristocratic 
position, nor his personal friendships, nor that conservatism 
which culture is supposed to engender, swerved him by a 
hair's breadth, or for a moment deadened his zeal in the 
patriotic cause till its complete triumph. Judge Chamberlain's 
opinion of Temple is somewhat qualified; his abilities and his 
services to the cause of the patriots are beyond question, but 
his connection with the abstraction and transmission to Boston 
of "The Hutchinson Letters" implies such a violation of 
the sacredness of private correspondence that it is doubtful 
whether he is entitled to share in that charitable consideration 
which all will readily accord to others of the Boston patriots. 
The Bowdoin and Temple Papers are of great value in cor- 
recting popular errors in regard to the causes of the American 
Revolution. They prove that the Grenville policy of drawing 
a revenue from the Colonies, after the excessive expenditure 
incurred in the subjugation of Canada, was intended to support 
the expense of the military establishment in the Colonies, and 
not to be applied to the payment of the debt thus incurred ; also 
that the modification of the charter in Massachusetts, in 1774, 
was a plan duly considered and determined upon without 
special reference to any particular exigency, and not a malig- 
nant exercise of power provoked by the destruction of the tea 
in 1773. So, too, the " Molasses Act " of 1773, which caused 
much discontent in Massachusetts, as seriously affecting one 
of her great industries, — that of distilling rum from molasses 
for West India consumption, — was made inoperative by rea- 
son of the great inducements it offered to smuggling ; and its 
enforcement was one of the causes of the Revolution. And, 
finally, the Stamp Act of 1765 was preceded by a careful 
investigation of the resources of the Colonies, and an endeavor 
to learn what subjects and what mode of taxation were least 
objectionable to the Colonists. At the November meeting of 
this Society, 1897, Judge Chamberlain joined in the tributes 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 139 

to the memory of Justin Winsor, dwelling especially upon the 
admirable character of his administration of the Boston Public 
Library, his method of historical composition, and his unusual 
qualities as a presiding officer. 

The last time Judge Chamberlain took part in our pro- 
ceedings was at the June meeting, 1900, when he spoke ex- 
temporaneously on the social and economical revolution in 
New England, which began about fifty years ago, and which 
seemed to him to have produced far greater and more important 
changes than the political revolution that preceded it. He 
gave some interesting reminiscences of his own boyhood on 
the banks of the Merrimac, of the emigration to the Western 
States, of the decline of the rural districts, and of the effects 
consequent upon the opening of the first long railroad line. 

As a writer upon historical topics Judge Chamberlain first 
attracted attention by a notable address before the Webster 
Historical Society, January 18, 1884, after he had passed his 
sixty-second year, on " John Adams the Statesman of the 
American Revolution." In the report of the Council of this 
Society for that year the present writer said of that address 
that " he has traced the secret springs of that great movement 
with a depth of philosophical insight superior to any previous 
treatment of the subject." This estimate of the value of that 
study has been confirmed by the opinion of numerous students 
of history. Let me dwell briefly here upon certain considera- 
tions that were either specially brought out or were put in a 
new light in this address. The period of John Adams's life 
included was the nine years covered by the American Revo- 
lution, and the principal object of the paper was to point out 
how there can justly be claimed for him the foremost place 
among such statesmen as Samuel Adams, John Jay, Thomas 
Jefferson, and even Benjamin Franklin. It was because John 
Adams possessed two of the prime faculties of a great states- 
man, " the historic imagination, which develops nationality 
from its germ ; and clear intuitions of organic constitutional 
law," It was especially this sublime intuition of nationality 
which distinguished him among his contemporaries. When 
the declaration of the Continental Congress, September, 1774, 
went forth, the cause of Massachusetts became the cause of 
all the Colonies ; it was nationalized, and this was John 
Adams's greatest feat in statesmanship. The value of this 



140 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

politic stroke became apparent in the next session of Congress 
in May, 1775. He then developed his plan of severing at 
once every political tie which bound the separate Colonies to 
Great Britain through their royal governments, and of laying 
the basis for independence by the erection of State govern- 
ments in their stead ; this eventuated in the Declaration of 
Independence. 

When John Adams entered public life, in 1774, he was 
probably well qualified to conduct causes and to argue 
questions of public law before any tribunal sitting in West- 
minster Hall, and he might have represented with distinction 
any English constituency in the House of Commons. By his 
mental constitution as well as by special education he was 
constructive ; before he tore down, he planned reconstruction. 
Thus he maintained, first in Massachusetts and later in the 
Continental Congress, that the people of the Colonies were 
actually living under constitutional governments that had 
been developed gradually among themselves, and not living 
under the royal charters ; these constitutions he claimed were 
inviolable. As a consequence acts which under the royal 
charters would have been rebellion to the British constitution 
were, on the contrary, a justifiable and patriotic defence of 
the constitutional liberties of the people. The Colonists 
claimed all the rights of Englishmen, and while they never 
disputed the reasonable exercise of its powers by Parliament, 
they repudiated the assumption that colonial legislation or 
colonial courts of law could be controlled by the royal 
prerogative. 

Judge Chamberlain does not find the causes of the Ameri- 
can Revolution in such acts of provocation as the passage of 
the Stamp Act, Writs of Assistance, and the attempt to tax 
the Colonies without representation, as is the generally ac- 
cepted opinion. These were the occasion rather than the 
cause of the Revolution. They only hastened a crisis which 
could not have been averted. The true causes lay in the 
innate temper of the Colonists, their English love of freedom, 
their jealousy of commercial interference, and their increasing 
reliance upon their charters as the real foundations of their 
governments and of their political rights. 

But what attracted most attention in this address was the 
assertion that " the American Revolution in its most vital and 






1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 141 

most potent force was religious rather than political." He 
claims that the encroachment of the English Church upon 
the New England ecclesiasticism, and the Puritan apprehen- 
sion that it would become the State religion, irritated and 
alarmed the Puritan mind, until the Revolution followed as a 
consequence. In Virginia it was otherwise ; there u it was 
essentially a question of taxation " ; the Colonists there were 
mainly identified with the English Church, and there could 
arise no ecclesiastical issue. Subsequently he qualified this 
statement by adding " it was one cause ; no one claims that it 
was the sole cause." In a note appended to the reprint of 
the address he says, " Notwithstanding what I say about 
Ecclesiasticism as a cause of the Revolution, some of my 
critics have substituted the for a." This seems to me hardly 
ingenuous, considering the prominence given to this cause 
throughout the course of his argument. His view seems to be 
developed from John Adams's opinion, quoted by him in an- 
other note to the reprint, that " the apprehension of Episcopacy 
contributed fifty years ago as much as any cause to arouse the 
attention of the common people. . . . The objection was not 
merely to the office of a bishop, but to the authority of Par- 
liament over the Colonies." x In still another note Judge 
Chamberlain adds : " When this address was delivered, in 
1884, it was, so far as I had noticed, the earliest historical 
presentation of ecclesiasticism (associated with political lib- 
erty) as one of the causes which brought on the Revolution. 
I restricted the influence to Massachusetts and Virginia." 
Naturally he attributed a somewhat overweening importance 
to the special cause that he believed to have been his own 
discovery. In the same note he continues, " By some inad- 
vertence at the time when this paper was preparing I failed to 
consult Foote's ' Annals of King's Chapel.' Had I read this 
work I should have seen that I had been anticipated in my 
views, and have acknowledged the industrious research, can- 
dor, good judgment, and literary ability which, as I think, have 
been combined in an equal degree in no historical work by 
an American since Belknap's ' History of New Hampshire.' 
Had I done so, it would have saved me vast labor and much 
thought, which I do not, however, now regret, for I was 
enabled to form an independent judgment, which happens to 
1 Works, vol. x. p. 185. 



142 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

accord with that of Mr. Foote." Unquestionably these novel 
views of Judge Chamberlain attracted much attention and 
were widely commented upon in private communications and 
in the public press. They met with almost universal approval 
at the time, as not only new but true. There were some who 
dissented, it is true, but Judge Chamberlain always pleased 
himself with believing that his views have been generally 
accepted as true by the writers of later historical monographs. 
This cannot be said, however, of one of the latest studies of 
the subject, " The Anglican Episcopate and the American 
Colonies," by Arthur Lyon Cross. 1 

What is regarded by many as the ablest of Judge Chamber- 
lain's historical writings is the chapter on " The Revolution 
Impending," contributed in 1888 to Vol. VI. of Winsor's 
" Narrative and Critical History of America." This was 
written at about the same time as a paper read before the 
American Historical Association at its Boston meeting in 
May, 1887, on "The Constitutional Relations of the American 
Colonies to the English Government at the Commencement 
of the American Revolution," and each study supplements 
the other. These papers show a sure insight into the hid- 
den springs of political activity in the Colonies ; while his 
familiarity with the legislative acts of the mother country, his 
knowledge of the principles of the common law, and his judi- 
cial cast of mind shed a flood of light upon points obscure to 
or misunderstood by writers who have not enjoyed the advan- 
tage of a similar legal training. He was thus able to give a 
more philosophical treatment of the causes and a wider in- 
terpretation of the results of the Revolution than it had pre- 
viously received. He starts with the assertion that it was no 
unrelated event, but formed a part of the history of the Brit- 
ish race on both continents, standing midway between the 
Great Rebellion and the Revolution of 1688, on the one hand, 
and the Reform Bill of 1832 and the Extension of the Suf- 
frage in 1884 on the other. It was not a quarrel between two 
peoples, but a strife between two parties (the conservatives 
and the liberals) in both countries, that went on at the same 
time and with nearly equal step. Its purpose in Great Britain 
was to regain liberty, and in America to preserve it. It not 
only liberated the English colonies in America, but wrought 

1 Harvard Historical Studies, vol. ix. 1902. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 143 

with other forces in transferring the prerogatives of the crown 
to Parliament. The American Revolution was one of those 
great world movements which mark constitutional progress. 

The recognition of these historical papers as of permanent 
value was immediate, and gave him great satisfaction. Espe- 
cially agreeable to him was the appreciation of his views 
shown by a French historian, M. Charles Borgeaud, in his 
" Etablissement et Revision des Constitutions en Amerique et 
en Europe," who quotes at some length from his " Revolu- 
tion Impending," and adds, " it would be difficult to indicate 
more clearly the real character of the American Revolution." 

In 1890 Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. published a selec- 
tion of the more important of Judge Chamberlain's writings 
in a volume of 476 pages, 8vo, under the editorial supervision 
of Mr. Lindsay Swift, of the Boston Public Library. The 
book had a most cordial reception from scholars and the lit- 
erary journals, and immediately passed into a second edition. 
The title w r as "John Adams the Statesman of the American 
Revolution, with other Essays and Addresses, Historical and 
Literary." The contents comprised, besides the titular address, 
the one before the American Historical Association, and three 
articles selected from the Proceedings of this Society. There 
were also added a review of McMaster's " History of the People 
of the United States," reprinted from " The Andover Review," 
June, 1886, and one of Palfrey's " History of New England," 
taken from " The Nation" of July 10, 1890. Besides these 
there were also included various occasional addresses and a 
few literary articles from periodicals. The titles of these will 
be given here in order that the list of his published writings 
may be complete ; they comprise " Remarks on Daniel Webster 
as an Orator," made at the dinner of the Alumni of Dart- 
mouth College, June 28, 1882, and an address at a later dinner 
on the occasion of the Dedication of a Statue of Daniel Web- 
ster. At the dedication of Wilson Hall, Dartmouth College 
Library, June 25, 1885, he made the principal address on 
"The Scope of a College Library." To the "Dartmouth 
Monthly," October, 1886, he contributed an article on " Land- 
scape in Life and in Poetry " ; and at the dedication of 
the Brooks Library Building at Brattleborough, Vermont, 
January 25, 1887, he delivered the principal address on 
" The Old and the New Order in New England Life and 



144 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Letters." On December 30 of the same year he performed 
the same service at the dedication of the Woods Memorial 
Library Building, at Barre, Massachusetts ; the subject of 
his address was " Imaginative Literature in Public Libraries." 
Before the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Good Citi- 
zenship he delivered an address, at Boston, on February 25, 
1889, on " Josiah Quincy, the Great Mayor." To the " Cen- 
tury Magazine," September, 1893, he contributed an article 
entitled " A Glance at Daniel Webster," and he read a paper 
before the Bostonian Society, on December 12 of the same 
year, on " Political Maxims." The latest of these occasional 
addresses was made at a dinner of the Sons of the American 
Revolution at Concord, Massachusetts, April 19, 1894. 

The literary quality which marks the style of these addresses 
and essays is uncommon. No one can read the volume through 
without recognizing their charm, and feeling regret that their 
amount is so limited. The present writer has previously re- 
marked that, in his opinion, for sound scholarship, critical 
sagacity, sober judgment, and catholicity of taste the volume 
ranks as equal to any that our generation has produced, and 
he expressed the belief that it would long hold a cherished 
place upon the shelves of the lovers of refined literature. The 
literary critic of the " New York Times " goes still farther in 
his commendation of Judge Chamberlain's style. In " a reply 
to correspondents," January 7, 1899, he says : " Letters come 
to the editor now and then asking for his advice as to the for- 
mation of a good style, as to learning how to write, or as to 
what is good style. They are the most difficult questions to 
answer. But in answer to all such appeals we would say, 
read Judge Chamberlain's volume. Spend some days and 
nights with 'Addison, if you will, but keep others for the 
Judge." 

Judge Chamberlain's interest in historical studies, so early 
manifested, received an equally early recognition. He was 
elected a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society, 
when he was only nineteen years old, the youngest member 
ever chosen. Shortly afterwards he was made a Correspond- 
ing Member of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries at 
Copenhagen, Denmark. Besides his membership in our 
own Society he was elected a Corresponding Member of 
the New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania Historical 



1906.] MEMOIR OF MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN. 145 

Societies, and a Resident Fellow of the American Academy 
of Arts and Sciences, in the Class of Political Economy and 
History. 

His professional and public duties would seem to have left 
him little time for other work ; but after he came to the 
Public Library we have seen that he was frequently called 
upon to deliver addresses, and his stores of knowledge were 
always at the service of those who sought him ; his help 
was often asked by writers whose researches had led them to 
the literary treasures under his keeping ; this was freely and 
gladly rendered, and has often been gratefully acknowledged. 

Judge Chamberlain was of a very social disposition, a most 
agreeable companion, delightful in conversation, — a truly 
" clubable man," as Dr. Johnson called Boswell ; and his 
membership in the St. Botolph and Tavern Clubs was a 
source of great happiness to him in his later years. 

For several years his health had been precarious, and 
finally disease of the heart, accompanied by an acute attack 
of Bright's disease, developed, and he died on the 25th of June, 
1900, having just completed his seventy-ninth year. His 
funeral took place from the little Congregational Trinitarian 
Church near his home, with which he had been connected 
more than twenty years, having been a member of the com- 
mittee which erected it. The services were very largely 
attended by members of the city government of Chelsea, 
representatives of the Board of Trustees of the Boston Public 
Library, and members of this Society, besides many relatives 
and friends. His body was laid to rest in Danvers Cemetery 
by the side of his wife, in accordance with his own request. 

Twenty years before his death he had printed in a local 
newspaper " The History of Winnisimmet, Rumney Marsh, 
and Pullen Point"; and several years subsequently the city 
of Chelsea appropriated a few hundred dollars to be expended 
by him in gathering materials and expanding his work. He 
continued at this task steadily for years, but it grew rapidly 
under his hands, and after the unexpected discovery of new 
material, it became apparent to him that he would not live 
to complete it. He accordingly made provision by his last 
will that the unfinished material should be placed in the pos- 
session of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the sum 
of $5,000 be paid over to it by his executors to complete and 

19 



146 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar, 

print the work, with an additional two-ninths of the residue of 
his estate, after the payment of certain legacies. 

At first certain of the heirs-at-law threatened to oppose the 
probating the will, on account of their objection to some 
bequests contained in it, — not, however, to those given to this 
Society. These objections were ultimately withdrawn, and 
the will allowed, and at the Annual Meeting of this Society 
in April, 1901, the President announced the receipt from the 
executors of the incomplete manuscript of The History of 
Chelsea, with ten bound folio volumes of manuscripts, plans, 
engravings, photographs, etc., used in its preparation. Two 
years later, at the Annual Meeting in 1903, the Treasurer 
reported that some questions had arisen under the will, and 
the instructions of the Supreme Judicial Court had been re- 
quested ; it was expected that these w r ould soon be handed 
down, when it could be ascertained just what sum would be 
available for the purposes intended by Judge Chamberlain, 
but that it would be much less than had been anticipated by 
him. At the December meeting of the same year the Treas- 
urer informed the Society that a part of the bequest had 
been paid over, and thereupon a committee, consisting of the 
President, the Treasurer, and the present writer, was ap- 
pointed to publish The History of Chelsea. At the following 
Annual Meeting in April, 1904, the Treasurer reported that 
he had received from the executors the sum of $5,520 on 
account of the bequest, and that a further sum of about an 
equal amount was expected on the final settlement of the 
estate. 

The Committee of Publication has intrusted the prepara- 
tion for the press of the manuscript and illustrative ma- 
terial to Miss Jenny Chamberlain Watts, a relative of Judge 
Chamberlain, who had proved her capacity for such work by 
her valuable notes contributed to " The Diary of John Quincy 
Adams," published in the Proceedings of this Society, and 
other literary work ; and to Mr. William R. Cutter, Librarian 
of the Woburn Public Library, the author of the History 
of Arlington ; and it is expected that the printing of the 
history will be begun in the immediate future. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 147 



MEMOIR 

OF 

THEODORE LYMAN. 

BY CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. 



From the records of the Proceedings of the Society for the 
November meeting of 1869 it appears that u Mr. Theodore 
Lyman, of Brookline, was elected a Resident Member." His 
death was announced at the October meeting, 1897. His 
membership in the Society lacked two months only of cover- 
ing the full period of twenty-eight years. In order of seniority 
his name at his death stood fourteenth on our resident mem- 
bership roll. 

Born in the family mansion on the well-known Lyman estate 
in Waltham, Massachusetts, on the 23d of August, 1833, re- 
siding nearly all his life in the house on the beautiful Brook- 
line property inherited by hiin from his father, Colonel Lyman 
died at Nahant on the 9th of September, 1897. The father, 
after whom the son was named, had also been a member of the 
Society ; but, elected in April, 1823, he resigned in May, 1836. 
Of English stock, the Lymans were transplanted to New Eng- 
land in early colonial days ; for the first Lyman, Richard by 
name, was one of those, about threescore in number, who came 
out in the ship " Lyon " in company with Margaret, wife of Gov- 
ernor John Winthrop, and her children, and also "the Apostle" 
Eliot. Some sixty years later the Rev. Cotton Mather quaintly 
wrote of John Eliot, — " He came to New England in the 
month of November, A. D. 1631, among those blessed old Plant- 
ers, which laid the Foundations of a remarkable Country, 
devoted unto the Exercise of the Protestant Religion, in its 
purest and highest Reformation." This Cotton Mather might 
equally well have written of John Eliot's fellow emigrant, 
Richard Lyman ; for, among the divines subsequently preach- 



148 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

ing this " purest and highest Reformation " was Isaac Lyman, 
a descendant of Richard in the fourth generation. A graduate 
of Yale (1747), Isaac Lyman was in due time ordained pastor of 
the church at Old York in what was then, and for over seventy 
years afterwards, denominated the District of Maine ; but in 
the latter part of the eighteenth century his son, the first of 
four Theodores, moved to the Massachusetts Baj\ Subse- 
quently a successful man of business, he laid the foundations 
of the family fortunes. The second Theodore (1792-1849), 
born in Boston, and graduated at Harvard (1810), studied 
two years at Edinburgh, and later travelled somewhat 
in eastern Europe, then an unusual experience for an Amer- 
ican. A man of considerable note in the community in 
which he lived, active politically and a consistent Federalist, 
General Lyman, as he was called because of the rank he had 
held in the Massachusetts militia, was also the author of 
several books not without reputation at the time, though 
now forgotten. For two years (1834-1835) he was Mayor 
of Boston ; in which capacity he is chiefly remembered in con- 
nection with the so-called Garrison mob of October 21, 1835. 
Previous to that, however, he had, in 1828, been defendant in 
a suit for criminal libel brought by Daniel Webster, then 
recently elected to the United States Senate from Massa- 
chusetts. When revived in the cold perspective of history 
the humorous aspect of this somewhat cumbrous legal pro- 
ceeding distinctly predominates ; but, at the time, it excited 
no little public interest. Involving great names, it was, 
in point of fact, a veritable teapot tempest, in the prog- 
ress of which a mere mole-hill was, for the time being, made 
to assume a truly mountainous aspect. The incident, curi- 
ously illustrative of the conditions and temper of the time, has 
recently been made the subject of an exceptionally entertain- 
ing historical monograph. 1 It had its origin in certain alle- 
gations contained in an article written by General Lyman, 
and published in the Boston " Jackson Republican," a paper 
of which he was one of the proprietors. Though a warm par- 
tisan in politics, General Lyman, besides being most public- 
spirited, was essentially a man of character and refinement. 
It is needless, therefore, to say that the libel suit in question, 

1 A Notable Libel Suit. By Josiah H. Benton, Jr. Boston : 1904. Privately 
printed. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 149 

however " criminal " in name and form, was instituted for 
political reasons, and brought no personal discredit on the 
defendant. He had merely in a controversial newspaper article 
used rather strong language, and been somewhat careless in his 
statements touching persons. The humor of the thing, how- 
ever, lay in the fact that the shaft, in itself neither particu- 
larly barbed nor sped with especial vigor, was aimed at J. Q. 
Adams ; but, in this case also, " the damned arrow glanced 
aside," and not only hit Mr. Webster, with whom General 
Lyman naturally and warmly affiliated, but pierced what 
at that particular juncture was with the " Defender of the 
Constitution " a very vulnerable and sensitive part. None the 
less the sum total of General Lyman's offence was nothing 
worse than extreme partisanship working, through historical 
inadvertence, to quite unanticipated results. Both the crim- 
inal libel suit and the Garrison mob were, however, mere inci- 
dents in the life of one closely identified both as originator and 
benefactor with some of our most valuable reformatory insti- 
tutions ; and in that connection the second Theodore Lyman 
still stands high in the estimation of the community of which 
in his day he was in no small degree typical. 1 

About 1820 General Lyman married Miss Mary Henderson 
of New York, long afterwards referred to by one who knew 
the Lymans well as " a lady of rare personal beauty and ac- 
complishments." Three daughters and a son were the issue 
of the marriage ; one daughter and the son alone survived the 
parents. Mrs. Lyman died (August 5, 1836) thirteen years 
before her husband, whose death took place July 17, 1849, 
when the third Theodore, the subject of this memoir, was 
just completing his sixteenth year. Left to himself thus 
early with what was in those days considered an ample for- 
tune, two years later (1851) young Lyman entered Harvard, 

1 There is an appreciative sketch of the second Theodore Lyman by L. M. 
Sargent in paper number fifty-six of his book entitled Dealings with the Dead 
(vol. i. pp. 202-206). Considering the standard of private fortunes of that period 
the benefactions of General Lyman were astonishingly liberal. Besides numerous 
unobtrusive gifts and charities during his life, he had from time to time privately 
given $22,000 to the Reform School at Westborough. By testamentary bequests 
he left an additional sum of $50,000 to that institution, and $10,000 each to the 
Horticultural Society and the Thompson Island Farm School. Mr. Sargent says 
of him : " Frigid, and even formal, before the world, he was one of the most 
warm-hearted of men, among the noiseless paths of charity, and in the closer 
relations of life." 



150 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

graduating in 1855. It was in many ways a somewhat 
noteworthy class, that of 1855, — among others in having 
two first scholars, Francis Channing Barlow and Robert Treat 
Paine. It was a curious coincidence. Entering college to- 
gether and being graduated from it together, as the result of 
four years of marking under the system then in vogue, Bar- 
low and Paine — two men curiously dissimilar in character 
as in subsequent careers — came out exactly even. Aggre- 
gating between 25,000 and 26,000 marks given by different 
instructors in diverging and converging courses, the columns 
in the two cases did not differ in result by a single unit ; nor 
could the arithmetical insight of Professor Benjamin Peirce, 
when applied to the problem, anywhere detect a miscalcula- 
tion or reveal an oversight. So the class of 1855 had the 
unique distinction of graduating two first scholars, and no 
second. Among its members, besides Theodore Lyman, were 
Alexander Agassiz, General F. C. Barlow, already mentioned 
as one of its two first scholars, Phillips Brooks, Edward Barry 
Dalton, James Kendall Hosmer, James Tyndale Mitchell, and 
F. B. Sanborn. The names of five of the class are found on the 
roll of membership of this Society. 

The college record of the third Theodore Lyman was in a 
high degree creditable to him. With a good physique, a 
natural leadership among his equals and a pronounced love 
of sociability, the dangers and pitfalls in his case were con- 
siderable. By his father's death left to his own guidance, 
with abundant means at his disposal, the temptations to idle- 
ness and pleasure-seeking were great. During his first two 
years of college life he seemed disposed to yield to them, giv- 
ing his time to amusements rather than to efforts at class 
rank ; but, subsequently, he combined the two activities. In- 
deed, he and his classmate and intimate friend, Langdon 
Erving, next above him in rank at graduation, were notable 
in the Harvard undergraduate world of that period for the 
degree of success with which this result was by them accom- 
plished. Under what influences Lyman fell in his Sophomore 
year was not at the time apparent, but the change was 
marked. Without in any way abandoning his amusements 
or restricting his inclination to sociability, his prominence in 
club life, in club theatricals, in rowing, or in society, he sud- 
denly went in for marks, and became a hard student. Always 






1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 151 

intellectually quick, the result was something quite remark- 
able. He rose in rank by leaps and bounds. At the close 
of the Sophomore year thirty-eighth in a class numbering 
seventy-one, — not even in the first half, — at the close of the 
Junior year he was thirty-fourth in a class now of seventy- 
four. During his first term Senior his marks for that term 
were next to the highest; while, in the second, or closing, 
term of the college course he was first scholar. Finally, at 
graduation, the College Faculty arbitrarily assigned him 
fourth place in the class. It was a college record indicative 
of an exceptional man. 

When, in March, 1855, it came to the choice of class officials, 
Lyman was the favorite candidate for orator, in those days the 
most coveted of college prizes. His friends and the more 
prominent club organizations were united and earnest in his 
support. The class democracy, however, looked askance. 
Those composing it would have none of him. Accordingly, 
after a spirited canvass, he lost the much wished for honor 
by a narrow vote ; not, it had subsequently to be admitted, to 
the bettering of the class-day exercises. It was, doubtless, at 
the moment as great a disappointment as Lyman had ever been 
called upon to face ; but, bearing himself cheerfullj% he took 
his defeat in manly fashion. Possibly a sympathizing faculty 
had the fact in mind when, shortly after, it came to announcing 
the scholarship rank, in his case to a degree assigned by vote. 

Theodore Lyman was, moreover, one of the few men of any 
time who have left at Harvard abiding traces quoad under- 
graduates. Early chosen into the Hasty Pudding Club, then as 
now the leading social and histrionic organization among the 
students, he was a conspicuous member thereof ; as also of 
the Porcellian Club, of which last, from 1860 to 1866, he 
acted as Grand Marshal. But it was in the Hasty Pudding 
that his attributes more peculiarly shone forth. Prominent 
as a performer in its theatricals, it was he who as chorister 
composed, in 1854, the classic song entitled "The First 
Proof of the Pudding," descriptive of the mystical origin 
of that ancient and goodly fraternity. When, forty years 
after graduation, Lyman was a helpless invalid at his Brook- 
line home, confronting the living death which day by day 
crept on him, the Hasty Pudding Club celebrated its cen- 
tennial (November 22, 1895}. Of the two things in its history 



152 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

to which prominence was then given, one was a repetition of its 
first play, Borabastes Furioso, the other the singing of Lyman's 
still familiar choral song. As things collegiate go, forty years 
is a well-nigh unparalleled immortality. 1 

1 In view of this fact it may be not inappropriate to reproduce this Harvard 
" classic." It is merely necessary in so doing to premise that the names of Mr. 
Sibley and Dr. Harris, introduced into the Lyman manuscript, were an unau- 
thorized appropriation. Both sedate officials of the University Library, the 
memory of Dr. Harris is not otherwise associated with mirth, music or lyrical 
composition, though, for many years, it was the recognized function of Mr. Sibley 
to set the tune at the commencement dinner. 

" The first proof of the Pudding ! " 

Words by Mr. Sibley. Song adapted to music by Dr. Harris. 
Air : " So Miss Myrtle is going to marry." 

Long since when our forefathers landed 

On barren rock bleak and forlorn 
There they left their little boat stranded 

To search through the wide woods for corn. 
Soon some hillocks of earth met their gaze 

Like altars of mystical spell, 
But within finding Indian maize j 

Amazement on all of them fell. ) bis 

Quoth Standish : " Right hard have we toil-ed 

A dinner we '11 have before long 
A pudding shall quickly be boil-ed 

By help of the Lord and the corn." — 
That moment the war-whoop resounded 

Through forest, and mountain, and glen, 
And a Choctaw savagely bounded ) 

To slaughter these corn-stealing men ! J bis 

" Oh vile pagan ! " The Captain said he : 

" 'T is true we 've been taking a horn 
But though corn-ed we all of us be 

We ne'er shall acknowledge the corn." — 
Then a wooden spoon held in his hand 

He seized his red foe by the nose, 
And with pudding his belly he crammed / 

In spite of his struggles and throes. ) bis 

The victor triumphantly grasp-ed 

The hair of his foe closely shorn 
While the savage struggled and gasp-ed 

O'erpowered with fear and with corn. — 
"Be converted ! " the good Standish said ; 

" Or surely by fire you '11 die ; 
Though with ' boiled ' you thus far have been fed ) 

We quickly shall give you a ' fry.' " ) bis 

Then straight was the Choctaw baptiz-ed 

In pudding pot, smoky and warm, 
While the parson him catechis-ed 

Concerning the cooking-of-corn. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 153 

Graduating in July, 1855, on the 27th of November, 1858, 
he being then in his twenty -fourth year, young Lyman married 
Elizabeth Russell, oldest daughter of George R. Russell, of Rox- 
bury, Massachusetts. On the mother's side Mrs. Russell was a 
Shaw, and it so chanced that Theodore Lyman's only surviving 
sister, Cora, had married a brother of Mrs. Russell. A double 
connection was thus brought about, and Theodore Lyman's 
sister became his aunt by marriage. But, what with Lymans, 
Russells, and Shaws, with whom were combined the Sturgises, 
the family connection was intricate, and, as regards numbers, 
bore a not remote resemblance to the sands of the shore. His 
marriage was the fortunate event in Theodore Lyman's life. 
He always so esteemed it. 

Already, even before graduation, Lyman had come under 
the influence of Professor Louis Agassiz. Intellectually and 
morally, even more perhaps than scientifically, he became one 
of that teacher's disciples. As is well known, Agassiz was 
endowed with remarkable personal magnetism ; he was, further- 
more, always instinctively on the lookout for young men to 
attach, not to himself personally, but to his pursuits. His 
attention seems early to have been drawn to Lyman as a 
promising subject, — a possible disciple; for Lyman combined 
in himself means, position, character, and ability. His whole 
life was thus influenced. And yet, as the result showed, it is 
questionable whether it was the voice of science which uttered 
for Lyman the clearest call. Those who knew him most 
intimately both at college and in subsequent life felt by no 
means sure, nor were they of one mind on that point. 

When, in the case of those we have known well, the out- 
come of life is settled, the temptation is strong to philosophize 
over what might have been had ideal conditions existed ; 
for few men are either by accident or choice placed or contrive 
to work themselves into exactly the position for which nature 
designed them. While nearly all men have aptitudes, such as 
they are, — that is, they incline to certain pursuits in which 
they can, or could, accomplish results more easily than in 

Then the Puritans chanted a psalm 

With chorus of Hey- rub-a-dub, 
And amidst gentle music's soft charm, ) 
Was founded the Great Pudding Club. J bis 

Theodore Lyman 
1854 
20 



154 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

others, — those who have distinctly pronounced aptitudes are 
comparatively speaking rare ; and yet more rare are those en- 
dowed with that one overpowering aptitude amounting to a 
call. With most men, the call, such as it is, not being clear 
and controlling, the wherewithal to support life and meet 
family requirements dictates vocation. But, in this respect, 
Theodore Lyman was one of the fortunate. Not forced to 
bread-winning toil, he could follow his aptitudes — if he had 
any ! The only question in his case was to know himself. 

That with his ability, application and alertness of intellect 
he would accomplish excellent results and attain a degree of 
distinction in any calling which he might adopt, all who knew 
him would be disposed to admit. That his greatest aptitude 
lay in the direction of science is not so clear. He certainly 
was not professorially built. Though quick of perception, it 
may also be questioned whether he was a thoughtful observer. 
He certainly was not a hermit, or a man of the laboratory. 
The late Clarence King, eminent as a geologist, as well as a bril- 
liant man sociall}', was wont to declare that the trouble with 
geology was that it could not strike back. In dealing with the 
rocks and strata the joy of conflict was lacking. It may well 
have been somewhat the same with Lyman. Ophiurans, for 
instance, may scientifically be interesting, but they indisputably 
lack the social quality; and Theodore Lyman's nature craved 
sociability. Indeed, in life, as in the Pudding Club, sociability 
was with him the source of the purest pleasures. As years 
went on, accordingly, the active human side of things more 
than once asserted its claims ; and it is very questionable 
whether his two years' experience in the army and afterwards 
his single term in Congress did not appeal to him more 
strongly and leave a more vivid recollection in his mind than 
the far longer period devoted to biological work. More even 
than law, science is a " jealous mistress." 

Thus, the trouble with Theodore Lyman probably was that, 
a many-sided man, the ambition that dominated was lacking ; 
and, among those who knew him best both at Harvard and 
afterwards, 'it was always an open question whether he would 
not have found the place in which he could exercise his powers 
with the best results both objectively and subjectively in the 
more active life. Had his attention been turned to political or 
social issues, and had he thus become interested in the excep- 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 155 

tionally absorbing problems of the period in which he lived, 
he had noticeable power of literary expression, many of the ele- 
ments of leadership, and, above all, he would have thoroughly 
enjoyed the game. Both in the arm}' and in Congress, he did 
so. Influenced, however, by Agassiz, he made his election 
otherwise. 

For three years after graduation, the acolyte worked under 
the eye of the master and in personal touch with him ; and 
the impression Agassiz then made on him he recorded in 
a published paper nearly twenty years later, shortly after 
Agassiz had died (1873). * He took his degree of S.B in 1858. 
In 1891 Harvard, in further recognition of his work, conferred 
on him the final degree of LL.D. 

Inheriting a strong sense of civic duty, from the time of 
graduation young Lyman interested himself in the reforma- 
tory institutions his father had originated and endowed, the 
most important of which still perpetuates his name. He went 
to this work also intelligently and in the true scientific spirit, 
taking nothing for granted, and quite refusing to acquiesce in 
existing conditions simply because they happened to exist and 
to disturb them would occasion inconvenience, and possibly 
cases of individual hardship. That all charitable, penal and 
reformatory as well as educational institutions have a strong 
tendency to work into ruts and formulas is matter of common 
observation ; whether, under such circumstances, they do not 
do more harm than good is an open question. Endowed by 
the benevolent, often with an intelligent forecast, or at least 
a half comprehension of facts and their bearing, their manage- 
ment is apt to fall into the hands of what are known as good, 
practical common-sense people, in whose behalf it is usually, 
and truly, claimed that they are not given to theories or apt 
to be carried away in pursuit of new-fangled ideas. When 
this occurs, the inevitable may confidently be expected. The 
institution has a strong tendency to become a retiring berth 
for incompetents ; or may even nourish what it was designed 
to cure, whether pauperism or crime. This tendency to unin- 
telligent formalism had not failed to assert itself in the early 
experience of both the institutions with which the elder Theo- 
dore Lyman had concerned himself, the State Reform School, 
and the Boston Asylum and Farm School for Indigent Boys, 

1 Atlantic Monthly, vol. xxxiii. pp. 221-229. 



156 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

on Thompson's Island. Of both, the younger Theodore Lyman 
became a trustee shortly after graduation. Trouble soon en- 
sued. With the exception of Lyman, the trustees of the first 
named institution were removed, and he elected to go with his 
associates. A long and wearisome struggle followed, — exec- 
utive action, legislative investigation, remedial laws, bureau 
supervision. As the result of strenuous and persistent effort, in 
which Lyman bore his share, more correct methods of manage- 
ment, based on scientific principles, were gradually introduced. 
In the case of the Reform School those among the inmates 
who were vicious beyond hope of remedy were by degrees re- 
moved from contact with those whom it was possible to reform, 
and the school, which was becoming a forcing house of crime, be- 
came what its founders intended and its name implies. In this 
slow process of regeneration, which gradually assumed shape 
through the administrations of Governors Andrew and Bullock 
(1861-1868), Lyman's classmate, F. B. Sanborn, was largely 
concerned, as Secretary of the State Board of Charities. 
Much of the time Lyman was away, but he never lost his 
interest in the work of effecting a return to his father's original 
scheme. At last, but not until 1884, the Massachusetts Reform- 
atory was established at Concord for adults ; the age limit at 
Westboro' was fixed at fifteen years, and provision was made 
for the transfer to Concord of boys who proved to be unfit sub- 
jects for the Reform School, which was by act of Legislature 
called ' The Lyman School for Boys.' A few years later, after 
the removal of the institution to a neighboring farm in the 
town of Westboro', Theodore Lyman went to the school for 
the dedication of the chapel, " and, as he watched the boys at 
their work and play, he expressed his satisfaction at the suc- 
cess of the trustees in having at last made it very nearly the 
kind of school that his father had wished and hoped that it 
might become." 

The Lymans went abroad in 1861, about the time of the out- 
break of the Civil War, and remained in Europe until the 
summer of 1863. Without paying much thoughtful attention 
to political issues or the principles involved in them, Theo- 
dore Lyman had grown up a conservative. His family was 
closely allied with those whom Charles Sumner was wont to 
refer to as Lords of the Loom, so contradistinguishing them 
from their allies, the Lords of the Lash. This highly rhetorical 



1906.J MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 157 

alliteration sounds absurd enough now ; but during Theodore 
Lyman's formative period — between the time he entered Har- 
vard and the time he went to Europe (1851-1861) — it meant 
much. It made environment; and, coming into his political 
ideas and affiliations in much the same way as he inherited his 
property, Theodore Lyman naturally became what was then 
denominated in Massachusetts a Webster Whig. Moreover, 
a disciple of Agassiz was not likely to be also a pronounced 
politician ; and it was improbable that a close student of the 
Ophiuridse and Astrophytidse would give any great amount of 
analytical thought to the constitutional issues arising over the 
status of the African, either as an escaped fugitive or subject to 
territorial legislation. Nevertheless, so far as he concerned 
himself in politics, and in those days every one more or less 
concerned himself, Lyman, in the great election of 1860, voted 
for Bell and Everett and not for Abraham Lincoln. Then, 
like every one else, he watched anxiously the gathering of the 
storm. When, in April, 1861, it at last broke, he felt no call 
to action. He had disapproved, and foretold ; what he pre- 
dicted had come to pass. He was married and deeply inter- 
ested in his scientific studies ; so, not altering his plans, he 
and his wife went abroad. 

While Mr. and Mrs. Lyman were in Europe, their first child 
was born. This event, of course, afforded distraction ; but to 
Americans constituted as they were, Europe was, in 1861 and 
1862, neither an agreeable nor a restful place. A nightmare 
period, one thought predominated. Sleeping, waking — the 
terrific struggle going on at home was ever present to the 
mind. Research and study were out of the question; the solu- 
tion of scientific problems must await a more opportune occa- 
sion. Nor in this respect was Theodore Lyman so constituted 
as to prove an exception. His was not one of those coldly 
scientific minds, self-centred and absorbed, which can look 
out upon the world in a purely objective way. Essentially 
human, social and companionable, he sympathized and felt. 
His relations, his classmates, his intimate friends, moreover, 
had thronged into the army and were in the thick of the 
fight. He was in Europe, — idling! Every mail brought 
letters from home or from the front, replete with one subject. 
Long lists of casualties came, in which were many familiar 
names, — some that were dear. His wife's brother was a 



158 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

prisoner in Richmond ; the regiment to which he belonged 
had been far more than decimated in battle. With Theodore 
Lyman also military operations had always possessed a certain 
interest, — an interest probably traceable to his father's con- 
nection with the Massachusetts militia, and the effective organ- 
izing work he there did as commander of the Suffolk brigade. 
Thus to both Mr. and Mrs. Lyman the situation became by 
degrees fairly intolerable. They must at least go home. They 
were back in Brookline in June, 1863. Early in the following 
month the battle of Gettysburg was fought. 

By a curious coincidence that battle, and its outcome, 
greatly influenced Lyman's individual conduct and subsequent 
interests through life. Seven years before, in the winter of 
1856, he had made a visit to the Florida waters on one of 
Agassiz's errands of scientific research. He there, at Key 
West, fell in with Captain George G. Meade, of the topo- 
graphical engineers, then superintending the erection of light- 
houses on the Florida reefs. In those days the Florida coast 
afforded few accommodations for temporary sojourners, whether 
for cause of health or of science, and Captain Meade had a gov- 
ernment vessel at his disposal. He was eighteen years Ly- 
man's senior, but only too glad to welcome him as a companion 
and messmate. They proved congenial ; and an intimacy 
followed, which was subsequently maintained. And now, 
from Captain of Engineers in 1861, becoming, in 1863, Major- 
General in command of the Army of the Potomac, Meade's 
name was in every one's mouth. Just the opportunity he 
desired was thus by mere chance opened to Lyman. Meade 
suggested, to him by letter that he should join the head- 
quarters. The Agassiz Museum now ceased to interest, and 
the door of the laboratory was closed ; the pencil was laid 
down. The call of science had for some time sounded fainter 
and fainter amid the tumult of the mighty struggle then going 
on, and in which the pupil of Agassiz was eager to take a 
hand. 

In the course Lyman now took he showed, also, an excep- 
tional wisdom, an intelligent insight. He did not, like so 
many others, — his relatives and friends, — rush at once into 
a profession for which he had in no way been prepared ; 
on the contrary, he gave a certain amount of consideration to 
what he wanted to see and know, and what he was qualified 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 159 

to do. That an army is not a more or less organized mob, or 
a campaign a picnic, or a battle an elaborated row and free 
fight, would seem, as propositions, to be elementary ; but in 
the earlier stages of the Civil War they had not obtained a 
complete acceptance. To be in the thick of the thing was 
the prevalent wish, without any very clear comprehension 
of what " the thing " was, or how one's presence there could 
be made to contribute in greatest degree to the result desired. 
Much excellent material was thus wasted. 

Viewed retrospectively in the light of what has since, in 
four continents, occurred, it is for those concerned in it mat- 
ter of wonderment how, on either side, we contrived to work 
our way through that terrific struggle with so little compre- 
hension of the supremely important function of the general 
staff in all considerable military operations. Though we are 
essentially an organizing people, and though the exigency was 
great, to the very end of the Civil War the ideas entertained 
of staff duty were the vaguest possible. It was not realized 
that the staff is to the army what his brain is to a man. 
Commenting on the condition of affairs in this respect even 
in the final stages of the struggle, a very competent critic says 
of Grant's headquarters equipment, when the great and com- 
plicated campaign of 1864 opened, " the organization and 
arrangements made by him for the control and co-operation 
of the forces in Virginia are now generally regarded by mili- 
tary critics as having been nearly as faulty as they could have 
been. ... It was in the nature of things impossible to make 
either the armies or the separate army-corps work harmoni- 
ously and effectively together. . . . But when it is considered 
that Grant's own staff, although presided over by a very able 
man from civil life, and containing a number of zealous and 
experienced officers from both the regular army and the vol- 
unteers, was not organized for the arrangement of the multi- 
farious details and combinations of the marches and battles of 
a great campaign, and indeed under Grant's special instruc- 
tions made no efforts to arrange them, it will be apparent that 
properly co-ordinated movements could not be counted upon." 1 
Every deficiency here pointed out meant the unnecessary loss 
of precious lives. In the operations which ensued, a system- 
atic butting against breastworks was substituted for the clock- 

1 2 Proceedings, vol. xix. p. 344 n. 



160 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

like movement of carefully calculated combinations. It was 
typical of the whole conflict. 

Indeed, at the commencement of the struggle, and in the 
earlier stages of it, the function of the staff was so wholly mis- 
conceived that among the young men, especially those educated 
at Harvard, the idea was generally entertained that the only 
place for really useful service was in the company, the squad- 
ron, and the regiment. A staff appointment was looked upon 
as merely one of show. The line meant work and danger ; the 
headquarters were synonymous with idleness, safety, and dis- 
play. Practically, and from an utter failure to grasp the scope 
and significance of staff functions and responsibility, there was 
altogether too much of truth and reality in this idea. The 
Civil War staffs throughout were largely ornamental. Yet 
the idea that they were so in the nature of things — neces- 
sarily so — was a delusion than which it is difficult to con- 
ceive any more false and unfortunate. An unquestioning 
acceptance of its truth caused the waste or misapplication of 
much valuable material. A great many round pegs inserted 
themselves or were thrust into square holes. 

Not that the Harvard men, of whom Theodore Lyman was 
a good type, did not do excellent service as regimental officers. 
They did ; and, as such, in altogether too many cases they 
laid down their lives. But, as compared with the staff, the 
sphere of usefulness of a regimental officer is confined; and 
as for his knowledge of men and operations, it is limited 
to his brigade and its movements in camp and campaign, and 
in action to what is taking place at his side or in his imme- 
diate front. He is a pawn on a wide and complicated chess- 
board. Moreover, the previous training of the typical Harvard 
man specially qualified him for efficient work on the staff. He 
had but to familiarize himself with its duties. 

In all these respects Theodore Lyman seems to have in- 
stinctively taken in the situation. Whether he did or no, the 
course he pursued was at that stage of the struggle the wisest 
possible course open to him. Regimental commissions, ex- 
cept of the lowest grades, were after 1862 not easy to obtain. 
Promotions were jealously watched ; and, in their bestowal, 
experience had begun to count. Lyman could not, placed as 
he was, enter the service as a subaltern ; he wanted also to 
come in contact with men high in rank, and to study large 






1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 161 

movements. After some correspondence with General Meade 
the matter was arranged most satisfactorily and in an ingeni- 
ous way. He was commissioned as a volunteer member of 
the staff , of 'Governor Andrew, with the rank of Lieutenant 
Colonel, and was, at General Meade's invitation, assigned 
to special duty at the Headquarters of the Army of the Poto- 
mac. He never was mustered into the service of the United 
States ; he drew no pay or allowances ; he was simply the 
headquarters guest and personal aide of General Meade. The 
position was anomalous ; the use he could make of it de- 
pended wholly on him who held it. Lieutenant-Colonel Lyman 
not only made himself generally acceptable, but he was effec- 
tively useful ; and, moreover, he had a range of observation 
and largeness of acquaintance of which he did not fail to 
avail himself. His experience was thus more interesting than 
fell to any one of his friends who took part in the war. Less 
brilliant, it was unique. Unquestionably that experience con- 
stituted the most interesting feature of his active life, and the 
portion of it upon which he subsequently looked back with 
greatest satisfaction. 

And yet in one respect it was to be regretted that his 
position with the army was anomalous and did not admit of 
that enlargement which follows promotion; for it is, and must 
always remain, fairly matter of question whether Theodore 
Lyman might not, after all, have found in a military envi- 
ronment the largest field for the development of his peculiar 
aptitudes. To those who had an opportunity there to observe 
him, it would hardly occur that he was specially adapted to 
large immediate command of men or to carry on complicated 
field operations ; but he did possess in high degree many of 
the qualifications which go to make up an accomplished mem- 
ber of the staff. He would have made an admirable Inspector 
General ; and, as such, have exercised a direct and most bene- 
ficial influence, not on a battalion or a brigade, but on the 
army as a whole. It was, perhaps, quite as unfortunate for 
the service as for him that his qualities could not be, or at 
any rate were not, utilized more effectively and on a larger 
scale. 

Even so, however, it remains to be seen whether Colonel 
Lyman, as a witness on the inside, will not yet prove an im- 
portant historical factor in the ultimate verdict on the great 

21 



162 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Grant-Lee campaign of 1864; for the true history of that 
terrible struggle is yet to be written. As already intimated, 
the instructive lesson to be drawn from it is the importance 
of the general staff in all great operations of modern warfare. 
Of this in 1864 General Grant seems to have had no adequate 
comprehension. 1 He was commander-in-chief of all the Union 
armies ; but the Union armies had no general staff in any 
proper acceptation of the term. General J. A. Rawlins was, 
nominally, Grant's chief-of-staff ; and, though from civil life 
and a self-educated lawyer by profession, Rawlins was a clear- 
headed, virile man. But his chief-of-staff in the campaign 
of 1864 should have been to Grant what Gneisenau was to 
Bliicher in 1815, or what Moltke was to the Emperor William 
in 1870. This, however, is what a recent critic, himself a 
West Point graduate and a general officer in close touch with 
Grant's headquarters during the campaign of 1864, has re- 
cently written: — 

" Rawlins was from the first bitterly opposed to the persistency with 
which the army was hurled in direct attack against the enemy's hastily 
constructed but formidable entrenchments as at Spottsylvania Court 
House and at Cold Harbor. He did not hesitate to say that the 
repetition of the first fatal blunder was due to the influence of one of 

1 There is an extremely interesting letter bearing on this characteristic of 
General Grant, from Charles A. Dana to Secretary Stanton, dated July 13, 
1863, and written from Grant's headquarters at Vicksburg. Mr. Dana through- 
out that campaign was with General Grant as the special representative of the 
War Department, in immediate communication with the Secretary. He had 
thoroughly familiarized himself with the situation, and those in command. He 
thus wrote in the letter referred to: — "Indeed, in all my observation, I have 
never discovered the use of Grant's aides-de-camp at all. On the battle-field he 
sometimes sends orders by them but everywhere else they are idle loafers. I 
suppose the army would be better off if they were all suppressed, especially the 
colonels. ... If General Grant had about him a staff of thoroughly competent 
men, disciplinarians and workers, the efficiency and fighting quality of his army 
would soon be much increased. As it is, things go too much by hazard and by 
spasms ; or, when the pinch comes, Grant forces through, by his own energy and 
main strength, what proper organization and proper staff officers would have 
done already. ... In the staffs of the division and brigadier generals I do not 
now recall any officer of extraordinary capacity. There may be such, but I 
have not made their acquaintance. On the other hand, I have made the ac- 
quaintance of some who seemed quite unfit for their places." 

In this same most interesting communication Mr. Dana thus referred to 
General Sherman, then in command of one corps of Grant's army: — "On the 
whole, General Sherman has a very small and very efficient staff; but the 
efficiency comes mainly from him. What a splendid soldier he is." Recollections 
of the Civil War, pp. 74-77. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 163 

the regular officers [at headquarters] whose refrain was 'Smash 'em up — 
smash 'em 'up ! ' With the same fearlessness that characterized the 
imprudent utterances of ' Baldy ' Smith and of that peerless soldier 
Emory Upton, Rawlins did not hesitate in conversation with me to 
designate this as 'the murderous policy of military incompetents,' and 
there is the best reason for believing that his remonstrances with his 
Chief, emphasized as they were by the uniform failure and the fearful 
losses attendant upon such attacks, had more to do with causing their 
abandonment than anything else ; except perhaps the pathetic protest 
of men in the ranks at Cold Harbor, who, before advancing to the 
charge, pinned their names to their clothes in order that their dead 
bodies might be recognized after the battle was over." x 

The historic truth is that though General Grant was a man 
of strong horse-sense and military instincts, as well as a most 
formidable fighter, he did not have a high-grade organizing 
mind. Confronted with Lee, this deficiency became apparent, 
expressed in simply terrible results so far as the armies under 
Grant's more immediate command were concerned ; for, un- 
fortunately, those who incited to that succession of frontal 
attacks, as murderous as they were futile, were not detailed 
to lead them. i Had such a rule been in vogue, it is needless 
to say the lives of many thousands would have been spared to 
them. As it was, the Virginia campaign of 1864 was tacti- 
cally discreditable and, in its methods, brutal. 

Of all of this Colonel Lyman was a close witness, at once in- 
telligent and observant. Realizing fully the importance of the 
events, he made of what he heard and saw a careful record. 
Naturally, at the headquarters of General Meade some jealousy 
existed of the neighboring headquarters of General Grant. It 
could not have been otherwise. An accomplished soldier, 
General Meade was irritable, and, among his intimates, out- 
spoken. His chief-of-staff, General A. A. Humphreys, was one 
of the best officers as well as determined and skilful fighters 
in the army. A trained soldier, clear-headed and reticent, the 
personal relations between him and Colonel Lyman soon be- 
came close. 2 The aide of Governor Andrew was thus in the 

1 Manuscript Life of General Rawlins, by General James H. Wilson, 
Chap. xii. 

2 In his account of the operations of this campaign, published in 1883, 
General Humphreys says, — " Colonel Theodore Lyman, an accomplished gentle- 
man from Boston, a volunteer aide on the staff of General Meade from the 
summer of 1863 to the close of the war, serving without pay or allowances, 



164 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

innermost councils of the Army of the Potomac. The repeated 
slaughters took place under his eyes, and at the moment he 
wrote down his impressions. He was very competent so to 
do. The time to make public what he thus recorded may not 
yet have come ; but that his evidence will affect the ultimate 
verdict on the great campaigns of which he was a witness, 
those who saw him there can hardly entertain a doubt. 

In his sketch of Colonel Lyman's career prepared for 
the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Henry P. 
Bowditch says : — 

"In this capacity [that of volunteer aide of Governor Andrew as- 
signed to duty at the headquarters of General Meade] Colonel Lyman 
served till the end of the Civil War, taking part in the battles of the 
Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, and Cold Harbor, in the move- 
ments around Petersburg and in the final surrender at Appomattox 
Court House, where he was one of the few officers privileged to ride 
through the Confederate lines after the surrender. During all this 
period he showed an active and intelligent interest in his new work by 
making almost daily sketches showing the positions of the different 
corps of the Army of the Potomac. Mr. John C. Ropes, President of 
the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, writes that he ' was 
so much impressed with the value of these cartographic statements of the 
movements of the Army of the Potomac, from the autumn of 1863 down 
to and including the 9th of April, 1865, when Lee surrendered,' that he 
had them all copied for the use of the Society. The same high authority 
in military matters speaks also of having seen extracts from a diary 
kept by Theodore Lyman during this period, ' which are as humorous 
and as entertaining as any pictures of the camp and march can pos- 
sibly be.' It is greatly to be hoped that this diary may in due time 
be edited and published, as it cannot fail to be a valuable contribution 
to our knowledge of the Civil War. Few actors in this great drama 
had better opportunities of watching the succession of important his- 
torical events, or minds better qualified for observing, recording, and 
commenting upon them. Nor did his interest in military matters cease 
with the war, for, as a member of the Military Historical Society of 
Massachusetts, he had ample opportunity to discuss with his companions 

passed the 5th and 6th of May with General Hancock, sending constantly brief 
notes with small diagrams to General Meade, showing the progress of the 
operations and giving the latest information. It was General Meade's habit to 
intrust this service to Colonel Lyman, sending him to the different corps com- 
manders. These little despatches are on file in the War Department and furnish 
valuable information." The Virginia Campaign of 1864 and 1865, p. 48, n. An- 
other reference to Colonel Lyman is to be found in a footnote to page 55 of 
the same volume. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 165 

in arms the great events in which they had all taken part. On June 
11, 1877, he read a 'Review of the Reports of Colonel Haven and 
General Weld on the conduct of General McClellan at Alexandria, in 
August, 1862, and on the case of Fitz John Porter.' 

" Lyman maintained a close and unbroken friendship with General 
Meade until the death of the latter, in 1872. He then wrote an obitu- 
ary notice of his old commander, which was published in Volume IX. 
of the Proceedings of this Academy." 

This spirited war episode was violently projected, as it were, 
into the far different career Theodore Lyman had mapped out 
for himself at graduation. Coming back to Boston and Brook- 
line when the episode closed, he, like so many others engaged 
in that struggle, resumed his old activities. His association 
with Harvard, always close, became closer still. Throughout 
the war, and until 1866, Grand Marshal of the Porcellian 
Club, he was also a liberal subscriber to the Memorial Hall 
fund, and took active interest in it as a member of the build- 
ing committee. By virtue of an act passed in 1865, the 
members of the Board of Overseers of the college were 
thenceforth elected by the alumni; and, in 1868, Lyman was 
chosen. His cousin and intimate personal friend from child- 
hood, Charles W. Eliot, was chosen at the same time ; but the 
name of the latter was shortly after submitted to the Board 
by the Corporation for confirmation as President of the Uni- 
versity. Lyman contributed efficiently towards securing favor- 
able action on the nomination. His assistance, too, was needed ; 
for, strange as it now seems in view of what has since oc- 
curred, the choice of President Eliot was at the time by no 
means unopposed. 1 It constituted in fact a new departure 
for the University, entered upon with hesitation and, at the 
time, viewed in many and influential quarters with grave dis- 
trust. The nomination was ventured upon by the Corpora- 
tion only as a last resort, and in a spirit close approaching 
desperation, — the result of an instinctive conviction, slowly 
and reluctantly reached, that the old order of things was 
gone, — a radical organic change had come about in the com- 
munity and body politic. To it the University must respond. 
Yet before Mr. Eliot was named, the position had been offered 
to at least one eminent gentleman more clearly in the line of 

1 The final vote in the Board of Overseers was sixteen ayes and eight noes. 



166 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

established and therefore safe precedent; and declined most 
wisely. Thus no nomination at all similar had ever been sent 
down by the Corporation to startle the Overseers except that 
of Josiah Quincy, made close upon forty years before and 
with five administrations intervening ; and in the case of Mr. 
Quincy not only was he a man mature in years, — then fifty- 
seven, — but he had long been prominent in public life. Nor 
in his case also did the selection command immediate general 
approval ; for, creating a new precedent of questionable char- 
acter, the clergy looked askance at it, and voted accordingly. 
Moreover, Mr. Quincy himself at the time remarked on the 
unusual character of the proceeding : — " I would not," he 
said, " have been any more astonished had they come and 
asked me to preach in the Old South pulpit ! " And now 
that instruction was bettered. A young scientific instructor, 
of more than questionable theological orthodoxy, a professed 
believer in Darwinism, suspected of agnosticism even, was 
to be formally approved of as president of the typical Con- 
gregational University. The nomination was referred to a 
committee of the Board of Overseers ; the report of that com- 
mittee, when made, was not acted upon immediately ; much 
eloquence was expended ; many doubts expressed. Colonel 
Lyman was then thirty-six, and only recently chosen a member 
of the Board. He was one of its younger members ; but, un- 
fortunately, the younger members were by no means united 
in support of the proposed innovation. Colonel Lyman, how- 
ever, not only took a broader view, but he knew his kinsman 
well. He was so placed also as to be able to render efficient 
aid. Thirty-seven years after the event, the outcome of the 
experiment does not need to be dwelt upon. The cousin's 
faith has been justified. 

Of Colonel Lyman's scientific pursuits during the subse- 
quent years, Dr. Bowditch says: — 

" He was one of the original Trustees and Treasurer of the Zo- 
ological Museum, a member and Secretary of the Museum Faculty, and 
Assistant in Zoology. The value of his services to the Museum in 
these various capacities was gratefully acknowledged by the Director, 
Alexander Agassiz, who, in his Annual Report for 1896-97, thus speaks 
of Lyman's scientific work : k His zoological work began with short 
papers on ornithological subjects ; he subsequently became interested in 
corals, and finally devoted himself specially to Ophiurans. The first 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 167 

Illustrated Catalogue of the Museum was from his pen, and this impor- 
tant monograph on Ophiurans was followed by numerous papers on 
the same subject, treating of new species of the group. He wrote 
the Report on the Ophiurans of the ' Hassler ' Expedition, of the 
' Challenger,' and of the ' Blake,' which include by far the larger 
number of species of Ophiurans dredged by those deep-sea exploring 
expeditions. 

" On the establishment of the Commission of Inland Fisheries in 
1866, Theodore Lyman became its first chairman, and gave the State 
devoted service for seventeen years without compensation. The story 
of his disinterested labor in this field is told in the Commissioners' An- 
nual Reports, many of which are from his own .pen, and are charac- 
terized by a brightness of style which pleasantly relieves the gravity of 
an official document. 

"In 1884, as President of the American Fish Cultural Association, 
at the thirteenth annual meeting held in Washington on May 13, he 
delivered an address which is printed in the Nineteenth Annual Report 
of the Commissioners of Inland Fisheries of Massachusetts. Here he 
sketches in the most charming manner the history of the fish industries 
of New England from the time when the inhabitants were wont to 
' dunge their grounds with codd.' He shows that fifty years after the 
settlement of the country a diminution in the number of fish in the 
New England rivers had already been noted, and describes the various 
laws enacted for their protection, culminating in 1864-65 in modern 
fish culture under the auspices of several State governments, and finally 
in the appointment in 1871 of the United States Fish Commission 
under the leadership of Professor Spencer F. Baird. 

"The various fishery commissions of the country have, to use 
Theodore Lyman's own words, c accumulated a vast amount of accurate 
information concerning the numbers and variety of our fishes, their 
food, manner of breeding, condition of life, migration, and stages of 
growth.' Pisciculture has become a State and national industry, while 
many private fish preserves have been established in various parts of 
the country. Several species of Salmonidee are raised regularly for 
the market, and it is highly probable that nearly all the shad now 
taken in our Atlantic streams have originated in State or national 
hatching establishments. These results, though important, merely 
serve to indicate what great additions to the wealth of the country 
may be effected when water culture is * practised as universally and 
methodically as is agriculture.' When Americans shall have learned 
to cultivate the water thus methodically, and shall desire to honor the 
men who in their day and generation have labored to re-establish the 
fisheries of the country, no name will stand higher on the list than that 
of Theodore Lyman." 



168 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Whatever may have been his political associations in youth 
and prior to the Civil War, Theodore Lyman came out of the 
war a Republican, but never an unthinking party man. 
Constituted as he was, he could not well be the slave of an 
organization ; and, indeed, it is very questionable whether any 
man who has given close attention to scientific problems, much 
less a man of really scientific turn of mind, can hold his con- 
victions subject always to a majority caucus vote. So doing 
calls for another order of intellect ; not inferior, possibly, but 
certainly different. Voting for Abraham Lincoln in 1864, 
during the reconstruction period and the two administrations 
of Grant he took no active part in politics. Not improbably, 
also, those eight years between 1865 and 1873 were the hap- 
piest of his life, as they were the closing years of the life of his 
master in science — Louis Agassiz. Physically well, happy in 
his family life, prosperous in a worldly way, not yet forty 
years of age, satisfied with the record and the associations he 
had formed, Colonel Lyman lived, a prosperous gentleman, in 
his fair paternal home at Brookline. Surrounded by friends, 
he there dispensed a generous hospitality, and even once more 
made his appearance on the stage as a member of Colonel 
Harry Lee's locally famous amateur theatrical troupe, of 
which before the war he had been the "eccentric comedian." 1 
With him the world then went well ; its present was enjoy- 
able, its prospects were bright. 

Once only during that golden period did he come before 
the public, or find himself involved in controversy ; and he 
then acquitted himself with spirit and successfully. His 
opponent was a formidable one, no other than Mr. Wendell 
Phillips. Politically, it will be remembered the year 1869 fell 
in a troubled period. The slave had been emancipated, and 
the Confederate disfranchised ; a political experiment of novel 
character was in progress. In a number of communities the 
white was to be ruled by the black, through the intervention 
of certain alien adventurers receiving the countenance and 
support of the national government. In the wisdom, justice 
and success of this experiment, if unswervingly carried out to 
its logical end, Mr. Phillips had implicit faith. This faith he 
did not fail to preach ; and in the course of one of his deliver- 
ances he had occasion to refer, by way of illustration, to the 
i Memoir of Henry Lee, pp. 25, 26, 32, 66. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 169 

Garrison mob of 1834. In so doing, he made a characteristic 
and wholly gratuitous assault on Colonel Lyman's father, who, 
it has already been mentioned, was, at the time of that highly 
discreditable demonstration, Mayor of Boston. As such, he 
was, of course, responsible for the city's peace. Oratorical and 
declamatory assaults by Mr. Phillips, whether on the living or 
the dead, were at that time in no way uncommon. Utterly 
indifferent to correctness in his statement of facts, ingeniously 
vituperative in language and sincerely desirous of inflicting 
pain, it might be said of the great agitator even more truly 
than of the eminent Englishman of whom it was first remarked, 
that " he made of his philanthropy a stalking-horse from be- 
hind which he let fly the shafts of his individual malignity." 
To become engaged in controversy with him partook a good 
deal of the character of a noisy street wrangle with some noto- 
rious town-scold ; but, none the less, Mr. Phillips indisputably 
held the popular ear. Had the attack been made on himself, 
Theodore Lyman would almost unquestionably have ignored 
it, — as before, and after, Chief Justice Shaw, Phillips Brooks 
and Judge E. R. Hoar silently ignored similar attacks from the 
same quarter; or possibly he might, in characteristic fashion, 
have turned it aside by some good-natured but clever repartee, 
as later he did a quite dissimilar onslaught made on him by 
Senator Hoar. 1 It so chanced, however, that General Lyman's 
mayoralty had been marked by two lawless outbreaks, neither 
of which has ever been forgotten, — the destruction of the 
Ursuline convent, in what is now Somerville, on the night of 
August 11, 1834, and the Garrison mob of October 1, fourteen 
months later (1835). In those early days of city government 
the police force of Boston amounted to nothing. Practically, 
there was none. Ununiformed, few in number, those com- 
posing the city constabulary loitered through the streets with 
canes, in no way different from the walking-stick in ordinary 
use, as their sole insignia of office. They bore the aspect of 
respectable citizens, somewhat elderly, perhaps, and, it might 
be, a little reduced in circumstances. In cases of riot or mob 
outbreak recourse was therefore had sometimes to the militia, 
sometimes to the fire department, or, in cases of exigency, to 
the mounted troop known as the National Lancers, a showy 

1 On this occasion he with much humor compared himself to the man who 
boasted among his neighbors that he had "just been cuffed by the King." 

22 



170 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

organization composed chiefly of Boston truckmen. In his 
Life of his father, Edmund Quincy deals with this subject, 
and describes both the inadequacy of the force and the ingen- 
ious expedients to which the earlier mayors were obliged 
to have recourse when the public peace was in jeopardy. 1 
Mayor Lyman, therefore, was not fairly open to censure on 
the score of inefficiency in not promptly suppressing either or 
both of the two outbreaks which made memorable his terms 
of office, and in which, it was long subsequently observed, u a 
portion of the people of Boston demonstrated the terrible 
truth, that they were not to be outdone in fury, even by the 
most furious abolitionist, who ever converted his stylus into 
a harpoon, and his inkhorn into a vial of wrath." 2 The work 
of the abolitionist had now been accomplished; but aboli- 
tionists were somewhat famous for length as well as vindic- 
tiveness of recollection, and, on the occasion referred to, the 
" silver-tongued orator " of the cause fairly let fly his " vial of 
wrath " at the former chief magistrate of Boston, then over a 
score of years in his grave. Not unnaturally, that magistrate's 
son was sensitive on the subject; Colonel Lyman at once met 
the onslaught of Mr. Phillips with a flat newspaper denial 
of the correctness of his allegations. The flood-gates were now 
open ; repetition of the charge, rejoinder, and surrejoinder fol- 
lowed in quick succession. Mr. Phillips was in his element, 
— thoroughly happy. On the other hand, his opponent, so 
far as the facts and their presentation were concerned, had 
distinctly the advantage. For a time the controversy was 
carried on in alternate press contributions and platform utter- 
ances ; the printed broadside then made its appearance ; 
finally, Colonel Lyman closed his side of the controversy witli 
a pamphlet statement 3 which left nothing more to be said. 
As to facts, it was conclusive; while, as respects spirit, direct- 
ness and scholarly finish it left no room for doubt as to the 
grasp of the writer, or the estimate in which he held the pro- 
fessional agitator and pseudo-reformer. Circling high above 
him in his presentation, Lyman, hawklike, pounced down on 
his opponent. His friends felt no surprise ; they knew it was 
in him to do it. 

1 Life of Josiah Quincy, pp. 396, 397 ; see also, in the case of Mayor Lyman, 
Memorial History of Boston, vol. iii. pp. 238-243. 

2 Dealings with the Dead, vol. i. p. 205. 

8 Papers relating to the Garrison Mob, edited by Theodore Lyman, 3d, 
Boston, 1870. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 171 

Going abroad shortly after this incident, Colonel and Mrs. 
Lyman passed the succeeding two years in Europe. That 
roseate period was then brought to a sudden and tragic end 
by a thunderbolt from a clear sky. At The Hague in the au- 
tumn of 1873, his daughter and only child, then in her eleventh 
}*ear, contracted a fever, and after a brief illness died. To 
both Lyman and his wife the blow was crushing. For the 
time being, the light had gone out from life. 

Returning with Mrs. Lyman at once to America, Colonel 
Lyman settled down at Brookline ; and with characteristic 
courage, though with diminished interest, he returned to his 
scientific pursuits. He had inherited from his father a sufficient 
though not a large property beside the home estate at Brookline, 
and neither he nor Mrs. Lyman cared for display or had extrav- 
agant tastes. Both, however, were greatly attached to their 
Brookline home and its surroundings ; and in their care and 
development and his scientific pursuits Colonel Lyman sought 
distraction. The sense of public spirit also now asserted itself, 
and the two, he and his wife, united in giving to the Massa- 
chusetts Infant Asylum, at Brookline, that first considerable 
endowment (820,000) which proved for a much needed insti- 
tution the beginning of a career of independent usefulness. 
On the 14th of December following his return, Professor 
Agassiz died ; and in the " Atlantic Monthly" for February, 
1874, the pupil to whose whole life the naturalist had given 
direction paid tribute to him. 

During the next nine years Colonel Lyman remained at 
home, at first slowly recovering from bereavement. Other 
children, two sons, were afterwards born to him ; and with them 
a new light dawned. He began also actively to interest him- 
self in politics. This first evinced itself publicly in the Hayes- 
Tilden presidential campaign of 1876 ; but in that somewhat 
memorable election he did not apparently concern himself so 
much over the presidential candidates as over the results of the 
struggle carried on in the Middlesex congressional district, 
adjoining that in which he lived. The notorious General 
B. F. Butler, having two years before most unexpectedly 
failed of an election in the Essex district, in which he had 
a place of summer abode, now presented himself as a candi- 
date for nomination in the Middlesex district, where he actu- 
ally resided. After a spirited but futile contest in opposition 



172 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

to him, he secured the nomination ; but the protestants refused 
to accept the situation, and Judge E. R. Hoar was put in 
nomination by them as an Independent candidate. Among 
General Butler's admirers and ardent supporters none was 
more prominent, and none so outspoken and emphatic, as 
Wendell Phillips. General Butler was in fact conspicuous 
among public men as almost the only recipient of compli- 
mentary and approving utterances on the part of Mr. Phillips. 
The latter now appeared on the Middlesex platforms as his 
advocate, and, as matter of course, was in no way sparing 
of the candidate of the Independents. This Judge Hoar did 
not forget ; and, eight years later, repaid by a caustic and 
well-remembered witticism. Whether a recollection of the 
Garrison mob episode of six years before was excited in Theo- 
dore Lyman's mind by the participation of his old adversary 
in the contest going on in the neighboring bailiwick is not 
known ; but suddenly he made his appearance on the platform 
as a canvasser for Judge Hoar. His candidate unquestionably 
embodied in great degree the political ideals of Theodore 
Lyman ; but that his dislike and distrust of Butler dated back 
to war times, and the memorable Petersburg campaign of 1861 
was equally free from doubt. Then and there no love cer- 
tainly was lost between the headquarters of the armies of the 
Potomac and the James. So Colonel Lyman now came forth 
from his Brookline retirement, and for the first time took 
public part in a political canvass. Judge Hoar's candidacy 
was merely a protest. That he had no chance of an election 
himself, and but little of causing the defeat of Butler, was rec- 
ognized from the outset ; and it excited no surprise when the 
vote polled for him fell to less than 2,000 as compared with 
over 12,000 cast for his opponent. Theodore Lyman naturally 
was disappointed ; but, after his wont, he took the result good- 
naturedly. His action had, however, brought him into notice 
as a political possibility. 

As the outcome of the canvass and subsequent disputed 
election (Hayes-Tilden) of 1876, the angry issues arising out 
of the Civil War were finally disposed of, and a new class of 
questions gradually came to the front. Among these was a 
reform of the civil service. Party ties also were relaxing ; 
independence in politics was in vogue. Theodore Lyman 
became more and more interested. He probably now had 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 173 

in mind the idea of a possible congressional career. Why 
not ? He was yet but a little over forty, he was wealthy, he 
had achieved a reputation, he was not without ambition, he 
was conscious of force, he craved activity. Though essen- 
tially a social or clubable man, and in college days active, 
always prominent, in the Pudding and the Porcellian, Lyman 
for some reason never belonged to any of the established 
Boston clubs. He had a prejudice against them. He seemed 
to regard them as mere centres of idleness, dissipation and 
gossip, sources of distractions from domestic life, — the rivals 
of home. The president of the Harvard Alumni, of the Har- 
vard Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, of the famous 
Boston Thursday Evening Club, he was long a member of 
the yet more famous Saturday Club; and for over twenty 
years he rarely, when at home, missed the monthly dinner 
of a little association of officers of the great war, to the 
hilarity and the reminiscences of which none contributed more 
largely. So now his political activity took that direction ; he 
became the founder of the Reform Club which, once known 
by his name, still (1906) continues to have periodical dinners 
whereat the issues of the day are warmly discussed, always 
in a spirit of independence. The way for advancement now 
opened ; and in 1882 the opportunity offered. 

President Garfield, assassinated in July, 1881, was suc- 
ceeded by Vice-President Arthur. Reconstruction had ceased 
to be an issue ; specie payments had been resumed ; the cur- 
rency question was thought to be settled, only to be revived 
in the 16 to 1 silver delusion of ten years later ; and so 
the minds of men turned to corruption in high places, the 
civil service, and reform in general. Extensive changes in 
party association were clearly impending ; a complete political 
reconstruction was more than possible. It was largely through 
mere habit that men continued to act each with his own party. 
Under these circumstances, the mid-term election of 1882 was 
not unnaturally one of surprises, a good deal mixed in charac- 
ter. As its outcome General B. F. Butler, now the nominee 
of the Democratic party, was elected Governor of Massachu- 
setts ; and, though a Republican administration was in control 
at Washington, an opposition Congress was chosen. The up- 
rising was marked in Massachusetts otherwise than by the 
election of Butler. In the Forty-Seventh Congress the State 



174 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

had eleven members, of whom ten were chosen as Republi- 
cans; in the Forty-Eighth Congress the House of Representa- 
tives delegation was composed of four Opposition and seven 
Republicans. Yet it was not a Democratic party victory. 
The change had been effected by the Independent vote ; but 
of the four districts carried by the opponents of the Adminis- 
tration in Massachusetts the ninth only was represented by 
one denominated as " Mugwump." Pat forward first by the 
Independents, and then accepted by the Democrats, Lyman 
received in this district 12,076 votes ; his Republican oppo- 
nent received 9,703. 

Purchasing a house in Washington, Colonel Lyman took up 
his residence there in November, 1883. The next two were 
years of novelty, and he unquestionably enjoyed them much. 
His health, it is true, had already begun to fail, and in this 
respect the outlook was ominous. The immediate present 
was, however, full of interest and distraction ; he and Mrs. 
Lyman took kindly to the new life, and socially made them- 
selves most acceptable at the capital ; and in Washington 
social aptitude, backed by the means for its exercise, counts for 
a great deal. Theodore Lyman was also one of a class which 
tells in Congress. An educated man with great abilities, a 
striking and genial personality, a natural quickness of retort 
and readiness in debate, he could not fail to make his presence 
felt. It was felt, and recognized. But nowhere probably does 
seniority and experience count for more than in the lower house 
of Congress. No new member, no matter how gifted, can ac- 
complish much; his first term is one of pure probation. Yet 
Colonel Lyman in that first session distinctly made his mark, 
laying the foundations of great possible future usefulness 
if time only were given him. In particular he spoke with 
authority on military matters, and he did it effectively, The 
question of restoring his rank and so doing tardy justice to 
General FitzJohn Porter then came up, and led to a spirited 
debate. In this Lyman participated. He understood his sub- 
ject, he had prepared himself carefully, and he portrayed 
events so as to make them visible. His delivery was effective, 
and his FitzJohn Porter speech was by common consent set 
down as one of the best of the session. It established his 
position as a debater. 

Unfortunately, however, throughout there was a certain 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 175 

hollowness in his position. He was an Independent, — a 
" Mugwump " ! Behind him, in his district, there was no recog- 
nized and solid party, no constituency to be counted on ; only 
open opponents to be reckoned with, and half-hearted sup- 
porters to be conciliated — if possible. The situation was un- 
satisfactory, and he could not but have felt it to be so. He 
had been elected on the issue of Civil Service reform ; but that 
question had been disposed of and removed from politics, 
and in disposing of it party lines had been effaced. The de- 
sired measure passed by what approached nearly to common 
consent ; and practically it was out of the way when, in early 
December, 1883, Lyman took his seat. Eleven months later, 
in November, 1884, he was defeated for a re-election. The 
circumstances, too, were, from a public point of view, dis- 
heartening, — they could not but leave a bitter taste in the 
mouth. He had been an able and faithful representative ; in 
every respect above reproach, he had reflected credit on his 
State and his constituency. Party lines were not sharply 
drawn. Lyman's natural associations were with the Republi- 
cans, — the party which had carried the country through the 
war. But the tariff also had come to the front ; and from 
association he was not a free trader. On that issue he had 
separated from the Opposition, offending the Democrats, who 
had made of it a party question. Still the Republicans might 
incline to one naturally of them. Unfortunately it was the 
year of a presidential election. For an Independent all de- 
pended on the nominations to be made. Finally, the Repub- 
licans put forward James G. Blaine ; the Democrats, Grover 
Cleveland. By the reform element of the Republican party, — 
the element of which Colonel Lyman was distinctively repre- 
sentative, — the selection of Mr. Blaine by the Republican 
convention was held to evince a reckless disregard of good 
political morals. It was at once repudiated. Thus cut off 
from Republican support, Colonel Lyman found himself with 
the Democrats, if not of them ; and the leaders of the Democ- 
racy recalled his tariff vote. Nevertheless, the single chance 
they had of carrying the Middlesex district was with him as 
a nominee ; and on every issue now presented he was with 
them. Then the narrow, the repulsive, side of political life 
presented itself. Constituents of eminence, constituents of 
education and professional standing, men who ought to have 



176 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

known better and set a higher example, were not above tak- 
ing a partisan stand. They wanted a Democrat put up, — a 
reliable party man. So, when the ninth congressional district 
Democratic Convention met, Colonel Lyman found himself 
dropped. He had not in the first instance greatly cared to go 
into Congress ; but, being there, he had found Washington 
life enjoyable, and he had become interested in the game. 
He felt he played it well. At any rate, he was not disposed 
to desert that generous reform element in the district to which 
he owed his former election and which now stood ready to 
go down in defeat with him. So, put in nomination by the 
Independents, he made a dignified and vigorous canvass, 
though the conditions manifestly put success out of the ques- 
tion. A presidential year, " the reform epidemic," as the 
party leaders termed it, — the disturbing and incalculable 
incident of off-years, — had run its course. So, when the 
votes cast in the Ninth Massachusetts District were counted, 
it was found that 4,260 had been cast for Theodore Lyman, 
the sitting member, as compared with 12,285 for F. D. Ely, 
his successful Republican competitor, and 6,301 for the nomi- 
nee of the Democrats. On purely partisan grounds the 
Democrats had thrown away all chance of securing the con- 
trol of the district. Altogether, the experience was in many 
respects illustrative of the vicissitudes and eccentricities 
of American political life. But Theodore Lyman in 1884 
merely met the fate of Richard H. Dana in the Essex district 
in 1868, of E. Rockwood Hoar in the Middlesex district in 
1882, and of Moorfield Storey in Lyman's own district in 1900. 
In fact he did better at the polls than any one of these three. 
His vote numbered 4,260; whereas that of Mr. Dana under 
not dissimilar conditions was but 1,811, that of Judge Hoar, 
1,955, and that of Mr. Storey, 2,858. 

Again Colonel Lyman accepted his defeat with cheerful 
dignity. Part of the game, it yet was hard. In any event he 
could have served in Congress but one term more, for his in- 
firmities were now perceptibly increasing upon him ; but that 
term he would greatly have enjoyed. It would have been to 
him as the Indian Summer of life. He was in his fifty-third 
year only when the end of his activities came. 

On Theodore Lyman's remaining time it is unnecessary to 
dwell. At his retirement from Congress he had yet thirteen 



1906.] MEMOIR OF THEODORE LYMAN. 177 

years to live, — hopeless years of constantly increasing in- 
firmity. Among his lifelong associates was Robert C. Win- 
throp, Jr., a friend from college days, with whom at one 
period he used to have much political discussion, the two 
after 1861 in no way agreeing. Referring to this later period 
and the painful and saddened declining years of his father's 
life, Mr. Winthrop, in his Memoir of R. C. Winthrop, says, he 
" was particularly pleased towards the last when one of the 
most valued of his Brookline neighbors and a greater sufferer 
than himself — our associate Theodore Lyman — sent him 
from a sick-room the cheering message : ' You never neglect a 
duty and you never forget a friend.' " Thus considerate of 
others, himself surrounded by friends equally considerate, 
Colonel Lyman passed the closing years at Brookline. Facing 
the inevitable with a calm and unflinching courage, he, with- 
out complaint, endured. A certain exaggeration of manner 
and exuberance in speech, which had been characteristic of 
him from his youth, by degrees disappeared, and was replaced by 
a quiet, silent dignity almost stoical. The underlying sterling 
qualities of the man shone forth ; but the cup was full. At 
Nahant, on the afternoon of September 9, 1897, he was at last 
mercifully released from what had long been a living entomb- 
ment. 1 He had been married a few weeks less than forty-one 
years ; a widow and two sons survived him. His name, inher- 
ited from father and grandfather, was perpetuated in a fourth 
generation. 

1 See the obituary notice in Memoir of Henry Lee, by John T. Morse, Jr., 
Boston, 1905, pp. 410-412. 



23 



i 

. ■ ■ ■ 

.. . ■ • ' 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 179 

Governor of the Commonwealth (1826-1832) and President 
of this Society (1835-1841), lived at the west corner of Beacon 
and Walnut Streets. There he died, not half a mile from the 
spot where stood the house whence nine years less than two 
centuries before his ancestor in the fifth generation had been 
carried forth to his grave. The subject of this memoir, the 
second Robert Charles Winthrop, was born almost between 
the two sites, at No. 7 Tremont Place, immediately in rear of 
the Boston Athenseum building; and he died, seventy-one 
years later, at 10 Walnut Street, not a stone's throw from 
where his grandfather had passed away sixty-four years pre- 
viously. Coming into the world on the eastern slope of Beacon 
Hill, on the Summer Street approach to Beacon Hill he passed 
his boyhood, again on its eastern side his earlier manhood, and 
on Beacon Hill he closed his life. Born Sunday, December 7, 
1834, he died Monday, June 5, 1905. 

At the time of the birth of the younger Robert C. Winthrop 
— who always, even after the death of his father (1894), kept 
the designation of " Jr." — the first Robert Charles was in his 
twenty-sixth year, and about to enter upon that career of 
public life which, so far as the tenure of office went, came to 
an abrupt close in 1851. Until, therefore, the younger Robert 
was a youth of seventeen, his father, to whom he was always 
greatly attached, was immersed in politics ; and, a large por- 
tion of the time, was absent in Washington. Those years, 
with boys, are apt to be the impressionable period ; and in 
young Robert's case the somewhat chequered experiences of 
his father during that politically troubled time — the bitter 
denunciation to which he was subjected and the personal 
enmities thereby developed — were never forgotten. All 
through life they materially influenced his son's views both of 
men and events. As he wrote of himself later, by nature he 
was a conservative, and somewhat of a reactionist ; and the 
trend given to affairs between 1850 and 1860 was one with 
which he never got to be in sympathy. So far as politics were 
concerned, things with him went wrong early ; nor did they 
ever afterwards right themselves. 

Young Robert's school life was broken in upon at the begin- 
ning ; for he was just six years old when his father first went 
to Washington (December, 1840) as a member of Congress, and 
among his earliest recollections was being taken by his father 



180 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar, 

to the White House and there seeing President Van Buren, 
who, to amuse the boy sitting on his knee, showed him his 
watch and seals. This must have been in the early months of 
1841. In the summer of 1842 Mrs. Winthrop died ; and from 
that time on, both young Robert's home life and education 
were somewhat casual. At nine (1843) he was sent to a 
boarding-school kept by Dr. J. A. Weiss in the Roxbury High- 
lands, the only substitute there then was for the more elaborate 
and far better equipped establishments which, in response to a 
distinctly felt demand, began to come into existence a genera- 
tion later ; and after that it was only during vacations and 
intermittently that he came under his father's influence. His 
mother (Eliza Cabot Blanchard) was a ward of her great-uncle 
S. P. Gardner, and her relations with him were so close that 
the boy was always in the habit of referring to his mother's 
guardian as his " grandfather." One of young Robert's early 
reminiscences, as he afterwards recorded, was of the quaint 
Vassall house in Summer Street, occupied until her death, 
in 1853, by " Old Lady Gardner," as she was called, " when 
the picturesque mansion, with its gable end to the street, was 
taken down. In its wide courtyard in front and large garden 
[behind the stable] in the rear I used constantly to play as a 
child. The out-of-door grapes and pears were famous, — a 
veritable rus in urbe ! The great affection of my grandfather 
for my mother, and his esteem for my father, led him to be 
very kind to me, and I often sat with him in his study, almost 
a separate building, adjoining the garden, when he showed me 
many curious and interesting books or talked about early days 
in Wenham and elsewhere." This old, colonial mansion, 1 
with its wooden fence and gate-way, and ample courtyard, 
still distinctly recalled by Bostonians of the early city period, 
stood facing East on the South side of Summer Street, between 
Washington and Chauncy Streets, on the present site of the 
C. F. Hovey dry -goods store. The house then occupied by 
the elder Robert C. Winthrop, after he left Tremont Place, 
was above it, towards Washington Street. 

The younger Robert C. Winthrop's life naturally divided 
itself into two periods. During the earlier period his strong 
desire was for European life and variety ; during the later 

1 A picture of the Gardner house and yard can be found in J. J. Putnam's 
Memoir of Dr. James Jackson (1905), p. 116. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 181 

his home, or Massachusetts, life was unbroken, and somewhat 
tame. The dividing date was September 26, 1871, when he 
landed in New York after an absence from America of two 
years and a quarter. He did not again cross the Atlantic. 
His first foreign experience was while yet at Dr. Weiss's 
school, and in the companionship of his father. Leaving 
Boston on the Cunard steamer u Hibernia," April 1, 1847, the 
two got back to Boston September 19 following. Of that ex- 
perience the elder Winthrop nearly half a century later pub- 
lished a pleasant account in his little volume of "Reminiscences 
of Foreign Travel" (1894). Mr. Winthrop and the boy then 
covered a good deal of ground, visiting England, Scotland and 
Ireland ; and, on the continent, France, Switzerland and the 
Rhine region. Young Robert, at the time a little less than 
fourteen, listened in the Houses of Parliament to Peel, 
Brougham, Lyndhurst, Palmerston, Stanley and Lord John, 
saw Wellington officiating at a state military review, and was 
present at a rendering of " Elijah " led by Mendelssohn in per- 
son ; while at the theatre, to which form of entertainment he 
was both in youth and middle life much addicted, he heard 
Grisi, Jenny Lind and Lablache sing, saw Fanny Ellsler and 
Taglioni dance, and Rachel and Fanny Kemble act. Altogether 
the early trip abroad made on him an abiding impression ; and, 
not unnaturally, when he came home he felt no strong desire to 
go back to Dr. Weiss's charge. So, after a short trial of the 
Boston Latin School, young Robert drifted to the Andover 
Phillips Academy, where he remained two years and a half, 
fitting for Harvard. He entered college in 1850. His winter 
vacations he had then been in the custom of passing in Wash- 
ington ; the summers at Newport, or in the houses of his rela- 
tives. For one constituted as he was such a mode of life was 
most undesirable. At Andover, however, he did, for the first 
and last time during his whole academic period, get and main- 
tain a fair rank in his class. Quick enough at his studies he 
would not, at school or in college, apply himself. He had also 
at this time acquired, as he himself subsequently expressed 
it, " a reputation in the family for wilfulness." 

Entering college when he yet lacked four months of sixteen 
years of age, his residence at Cambridge extended from 1850 
to 1856. In his case it certainly was not a studious period. 
" The contrast," as he afterwards wrote, " between the quiet 



182 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

atmosphere of Andover and the temptations and comparative 
independence of Cambridge, so near Boston, was very great. 
The result was that I neglected my studies and developed a 
habit of incessant theatre-going." But in his student life, how- 
ever devoid it may have been of advance towards a good edu- 
cational equipment, young Winthrop had much social success, 
and in that way derived from it very considerable enjoyment. 
In clubs and societies, other than literaiy, he was distinctly a 
favorite. Always prominent, usually marshal or president, he 
was not only " thought to excel as a presiding officer," but he 
actually had a marked natural aptitude for that function, 
" conducting initiations as well as more formal business in 
an orderly and systematic manner." Finally, he later on re- 
corded, " our class election [for the exercises immediately pre- 
ceding Commencement] was held on Monday, March 13, 1854. 
In those days the post of Orator was much the most important, 
— not, as now [1902], that of Chief Marshal. Charles Russell 
Lowell 1 was the most popular man in the class, and could 
have been elected Orator by a practically unanimous vote, but 
he declined to stand, as he was already First Scholar, which 
he thought honor enough. Then ensued a contest ; but on the 
fifth ballot I received a majority over all other candidates, and 
was subsequently chosen by acclamation to be President of 
the Class Supper. . . . The weather on Class Day (Friday, 
June 23) was fine and everything went off well, my oration 
seeming to please, tho' it would have been better had I put more 
work in it." In point of fact everything on that occasion went 
off with exceptional eclat, largely owing to Winthrop himself. 
He was by nature adapted for functions of the sort ; for though, 
as he very frankly admitted, not disposed to exert himself to 
any undue extent in the drudgery of literary preparation, he 
naturally had a vivacious and pointed delivery, easily got in 
sympathy with an audience, and, as a host, was in his ele- 
ment. In no other capacity did he appear so well, — quiet, 
easy in bearing, gracious and sufficiently dignified, he put 
every one at ease. His class-day prominence was, too, very 
grateful to his father, to whom the son's collegiate course had 
not in other respects been a source of unmixed gratification. 

It had been the elder Winthrop's hope that young Robert 
would acquire a taste for political life, following in his own 
1 See Harvard Memorial Biographies, vol. i. pp. 296-327. 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 183 

footsteps. The indication of certain popular qualities implied 
in his selection as class-orator and the success of his oration as 
respects delivery " led my father to think I might without diffi- 
culty develop a knack at stump-speaking and that a political 
career might gradually open itself to me. There was a good 
deal in this suggestion, but it did not smile to me. I was not 
what is generally known as a 'good American.' Our institu- 
tions were too democratic for me. I wholly disbelieved in un- 
restricted suffrage, preferring a conservative republic, with 
long terms of office, and a suffrage based on property qualifi- 
cations. The scramble for salaried posts on the part of blatant 
demagogues, of which I had seen and heard so much at Wash- 
ington and elsewhere, continually disgusted me, as often did 
the machinery of caucuses and primary elections. I had some 
idea I might one day gain distinction as a writer, but I made 
up my mind never to be a politician. 

" In my Memoir of my father I have described how my 
grandfather was known at Harvard in 1778 as ; English Tom,' 
and my father forty-six years later dubbed * English Win- 
throp ' by some of his classmates, as a result of native reserve 
and ceremonious manners. So I, when a Sophomore, was 
taken to task in a friendly way by Professor Felton for affect- 
ing a sort of ' English hauteur.' There was no affectation 
about it. I was by nature reserved except with intimates, 
combining a sort of youthful bashfulness with extreme short- 
ness of vision, and my inability to recognize people at a little 
distance often made me seem cold or indifferent.' , 

" English hauteur " was, however, not exactly the char- 
acteristic for which, in Faculty circles at least, he was chiefly 
noted. He has himself given an amusing account of an inter- 
view he once had, in undergraduate years, with Dr. James 
Walker, President of the University during the latter part of 
Winthrop's collegiate course. He had been summoned to 
receive what was known as a " Public Admonition " for im- 
proper conduct during the delivery of a Dudleian lecture, the 
improper conduct having in this case been " the consumption 
and distribution of peanuts in the College Chapel " while the 
lecture was being there delivered. " I could not in conscience 
deny the charge ; and I was aware that any attempt to do so 
would be futile, as I had not long before been credibly assured 
that no less competent an authority than a well-known Pro* 



184 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar- 

fessor of Political Economy had personally identified a heap 
of shells under my seat. I ventured, however, to insinuate 
some slight palliation of the enormity of which I had been 
guilty, by pointing out that no inconsiderable portion of that 
Dudleian Lecture had been devoted to undermining certain 
religious tenets which I had from childhood been taught to 
reverence. Dr. Walker rejoined, in accents of unmistakable 
severity, although, as it seemed to me, there played across his 
expressive features the shadow — the momentary shadow- — of 
a smile : ' Mr. Winthrop, your conduct in this, as in some 
other matters, has been marked by an incorrigible want of 
decorum.' " 

Discontinuing his Cambridge residence in the summer of 
1856, Winthrop entered the law office of our late associate 
Leverett Saltonstall, whose marriage to a cousin of his had 
led to an intimacy ; but his office attendance was, like his 
attendance at Law School lectures, far from regular, and, as 
he afterwards wrote, while " I read comparatively little I 
acquired a general acquaintance with the usages of our local 
courts and the ways of local practitioners which confirmed 
in me a distaste for the profession which was perhaps unrea- 
sonable. In September, 1857, I was, however, admitted a 
member of the Suffolk bar on the strength of my three years' 
studies ; but I have never practised." 

Winthrop's own description of his next, and far more im- 
portant, step in life is so characteristic, and, for those familiar 
with both parties and the Boston social circle of that period 
so suggestive, that it cannot be omitted : " In the Autumn 
[October 15, 1857] I was married to Frances Pickering Adams, 
generally known as ' Fanny Adams,' youngest daughter of 
Mr. Benjamin Adams, a near neighbor of ours in Pemberton 
Square. I was then a little less than twenty-three years old, 
she a year younger, though looking about seventeen. My 
father thought me rather young to marry, and her parents 
would very naturally have preferred a son-in-law with larger 
means. Our joint income was a small one, and in looking 
back upon the undertaking it certainly seems to have been 
rash, but we were very happy and managed to keep out of 
debt. To many persons besides myself she was one of the 
most — if not the most — attractive girls in Boston, small, 
graceful, with a bewitching expression and golden hair, an 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 185 

exceptionally good dancer, with a soprano voice, much love 
of music, a sunny disposition and a lively sense of humor. 
She came of a long-lived family and had enjoyed excellent 
health up to the spring of 1856, when she took cold while sus- 
taining the principal part in some private theatricals managed 
by Arthur Dexter (H. U. 1851) and given by Mrs. Samuel 
Hooper at 56 Beacon Street. This cold left her with a cough 
which, though slight and intermittent, sometimes occasioned 
anxiety, and obliged her to nearly give up her singing. It 
was the opinion of Dr. Jacob Bigelow that a few winters in 
the South of Europe were very desirable for her, and his 
advice accorded with my inclinations." 

Sailing for Europe a week after his wedding (October 21, 
1857), Robert Winthrop returned to Boston, a widower, thirty- 
two months later, in June, 1860. His young wife had 
died of tubercular consumption at Rome the previous April, 
almost exactly two years and a half after their marriage. 
During that time Mrs. Winthrop had, however, as a rule, 
though not strong, been fairly well, and both of them seem to 
have enjoyed Europe greatly. Travelling much, usually by 
carriage, they made repeated visits to England, France and 
Italy, crossing the Alps, passing much time at Paris, at Pau 
and on the Riviera, visiting Malta, spending a winter in Rome, 
and part of a summer on the Rhine. More than forty years 
afterwards, referring to the close of this first marriage, Mr. 
Winthrop said of his wife that, though never free from 
anxiety on her account, " until the last few hours she was 
mercifully spared from suffering, was fully conscious to the 
end, retaining throughout her illness her cheerful, sunny dis- 
position." Preparing to return at once to America by steamer 
from Liverpool, he personally arranged at Marseilles for the 
transportation of the embalmed remains of Mrs. Winthrop by 
a sailing vessel to New York, " the master undertaking to 
reserve his cabin on deck exclusively for the body." May 28 
" she was laid to rest in the Benjamin Adams tomb at Mt. Au- 
burn, 189 Woodbine Path, a beautiful situation. That morn- 
ing a funeral service, attended only by relations and intimate 
friends, took place at Pemberton Square, Rev. S. K. Lothrop, 
D.D. (who had married us), officiating. At both these ser- 
vices, the one in Rome and the one in Boston, I took immense 
pains with the flowers, and think they would have pleased her." 

24 



186 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

When this brief episode of his early manhood thus closed, 
Mr. Winthrop was only in his twenty-sixth year. His second 
marriage took place just nine years later (June 1, 1869), and 
the intervening period was passed at Boston when at home, 
but chiefly in European travel, for which he at this time had 
a strongly developed taste. In America his journeys never 
extended beyond Saratoga and the eastern seaboard cities ; 
though once, in 1857, he went to Charleston and Savannah, 
" going by sea from New York and receiving many attentions 
from southern relatives." It was, however, during the winter 
following his return that he began to interest himself in those 
family manuscripts to the arrangement and publication of 
which he later devoted much time and no inconsiderable 
amount of money. Getting " homesick for Europe," he passed 
nine months of the next year (1862) abroad, visiting England, 
France and Italy, travelling with his college and life-long 
friends, Charles Thorndike and Theodore Chase, and meeting, 
among others, Count Bismarck, then representing the King of 
Prussia at the Court of the Emperor Napoleon, ex-Chancellor 
Brougham, at that time a very old man, and Earl Grey. Still 
hungering for Europe, in 1863 he was abroad twice, passing 
his time chiefly at Paris, a little in London and Pau. In 1864, 
June to August, " followed another short but very pleasant 
European trip " ; not so much in Paris as before. " I was 
the better part of a month in England and Scotland — Tun- 
bridge Wells, St. Leonards, Edinburgh, the Trossachs. I had 
tired of Boston society and went out little in the winter of 
1864-65, busying mj^self in work on the Winthrop papers." 
And then again, "three months in Europe." The fact was 
Europe afforded him variety; he there found interest, excite- 
ment, even occupation in a way. But Boston was monotonous 
and dull ; the streets were not gay, the theatres were indiffer- 
ent; he met continually the same people; he was, in a word, 
ennuye, — bored. 

Europe, it must also be remembered, was to an American, 
especially to an American of the Robert Winthrop type, a 
far more fascinating place before the revolutionizing Franco- 
German war than it now is. Mr. F. E. Parker, formerly a 
member of the Society noted for his keen observation and in- 
cisive speech, is said to have been in the custom of asserting 
that it was the mission of America to vulgarize Europe ; and 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 187 

our associate, Professor Norton, I remember, once declared 
in discussion before this Society that, allowing this to be more 
or less true, and that it was indeed the mission of America to 
vulgarize Europe, it was no less certainly the mission of Ger- 
many to brutalize it. Assuming a degree of truth in both 
propositions, it will not be denied it is since 1870 that both 
Germany and America have in their respective missions put in 
the most telling work. Prior to 1870 there was to cultivated 
Americans a certain atmosphere of remoteness about Europe, 
both in time and space, much less perceptible now. London 
was }'et to a degree old-time ; Paris was imperial ; Rome was 
mediaeval. The Papacy was a secular as well as a spiritual 
power, and an American in the Eternal City seemed to go back 
at once three centuries of time, as well as to be obviously 
several thousand miles from Boston. The Piazza di Spagna of 
1860 was distinctively Roman; the Quirinal of 1906 is unmis- 
takably suggestive of Chicago. But perhaps the change is 
most perceptible in Paris. 

Three centuries before, Montaigne had described himself as 
always " perfectly friends with Paris," and declared that " the 
more beautiful cities I have seen since, the more the beauty 
of this still wins upon my affection. I love her tenderly even 
to her warts and blemishes . . . this great city, great in people, 
great in the felicity of her situation ; but, above all, great and 
incomparable in variety and diversity of commodities : the 
glory of France, and one of the most noble ornaments of the 
world." In common with many Americans, Robert Winthrop 
felt towards the French capital of the middle of the nineteenth 
century much as the old Provencal did towards that of the 
middle of the sixteenth. In Paris he felt most at home. It 
was the period of the Second Empire ; and, between 1857 and 
1870, the years when Mr. Winthrop loved best to be there, 
Paris was gay, brilliant, exciting. The city was in process of 
transformation, but quaint bits of the old town were yet to be 
found. The Palais Royal was in its glory ; it was the day of* 
Ve7our and the Trois-Freres. The Zouave, springy in step and 
picturesquely garbed, was so much in evidence that the morn- 
ing air seemed to ring with his bugles ; while the Turco, with 
his white burnous and glittering arms, contributed an oriental 
touch to the scene. The marshals were resplendent; the very 
gendarmes were in striking contrast to the London or New 



188 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

York police. The city by the Seine was strange, picturesque, 
resonant. It may all have been scenic ; it certainly was not 
republican ; and the event showed that, as components, paste- 
board, tinsel and sham entered into it largely : but to an 
American, especially to an American who, like Robert Win- 
throp, made no pretence of being a "good American," there 
was about it an undeniable fascination. Boston suffered by 
the contrast : — Beacon Hill might be all very well, but it was 
not the Rue de Rivoli ; Washington Street had little in com- 
mon with the Boulevard ; and as to the Champs Elysees, it 
was then "Tom" Appleton announced the new dispensation 
that when good Bostonians died they went to Paris. 

Such to an American was Europe anterior to the Franco- 
German war, — the Europe, and more especially the Paris, for 
which Robert Winthrop grew "homesick" when passing the 
winters in Boston between his thirtieth and fortieth years. 
Of this period and his plans and aspirations he long afterwards 
wrote: — •" During the nearly three years which elapsed be- 
tween my return home towards the close of 1862 and my 
now [1866] going away, I had tried hard at intervals to 
secure some permanent occupation. Practice of the law had 
as little attraction for me as ever, — politics even less, owing 
to the shameful attacks upon my father, for some account of 
which see my Memoir of him. Military service in the Civil 
War was out of the question owing to my liability to water on 
the knee, — and even had this been otherwise, such service 
would have been distasteful to me, as I had friends and rela- 
tives at the South and believed the Republican party to be 
largely responsible for the conflict. For literary work I was 
better suited, and I occasionally availed myself of opportunities 
for writing newspaper articles. At one time I thought seri- 
ously of going to San Francisco on such an errand, but was 
rather discouraged by my father's old friend, Hon. Edward 
Stanley, who represented the tone of society there as coarse 
and convivial, and thought that a reserved, fastidious man 
like myself, who hated being asked to ' drink,' would be 
handicapped at the outset. I have no doubt he was right. 
I was always more of a dreamer than a worker, capable of 
much energy by fits and starts, alternating with periods of 
more or less indulgence and indolence. I wrote verses and 
short stories which failed to satisfy me, — a novel which I 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 189 

burned when half finished, it fell so short of my ideal, — but 
it was a pleasure to me to assist my father in his various 
historical and commemorative undertakings." 

During the summer of 1866 Mr. Winthrop, weary of Amer- 
ica — again " homesick " for Europe — made preparations for 
a long absence, and in October sailed for Liverpool. The 
following winter was passed in Paris " doing a prodigious 
amount of theatre-going and being much in society, chiefly 
American, though occasionally foreign"; and the following 
March he started with his friend, William E. Howe, of Boston, 
" on what proved a very delightful trip to Spain and Portu- 
gal." Winthrop's account of his experiences during this trip 
is truly vivid ; and, though the travelling was rough, he 
evidently enjoyed it greatly. 

" After a brief visit to Bayonne and Biarritz, and longer ones to 
Burgos and Valladolid, we passed nearly a fortnight in Madrid, pro- 
foundly impresed by the art-collections and by a trip to the Escorial. 
Our Minister, John P. Hale, took me to an evening reception at the 
house of the Countess Montijo, mother of the Empress Eugenie, where 
I made the acquaintance of divers Spanish grandees, male and female, 
and found them unaffected and pleasant. The Duke of Berwick and 
Alva (to whom we brought a letter) took us in person all over his 
most luxurious and interesting palace. In Madrid, too, I had my 
first experience of bull-fighting. On leaving there we went .first to 
Toledo, and then, via Aranjuez and Ciudad Real and Badajoz, by rail 
to Lisbon, which we reached April 1st, finding it a really beautiful city, 
but the people much less well-mannered than the Spanish. Harvey, 
our Minister, and Banuelos, 1 the Spanish Minister, who had married 
Mary Adeline Thorndike, were full of attention, and I was at the 
house of Koadriaffsky, the Russian Minister, of Sir Augustus Paget, 
the British Minister, whose wife (born Countess Hohenthal) was very 
pleasant, besides seeing something of two leaders of Lisbon society, the 
old Marchioness of Viana and the Countess of Penafiel. At a large 
evening reception, at the house of the Deputy Vasconcellos, I was 
much struck by the fact that nearly all the men stayed in one room 
smoking or playing cards, leaving the ladies to themselves. At one 
time Banuelos and I were the only males in the biggest drawing-room, 

1 During the week in which this Memoir was submitted to the Society the 
following item appeared in the death announcements of the " Boston Transcript" 
(March 5, 1906): — 

" BANUELOS — At Biarritz, France, March 3, Count de Banuelos, senator, 
former under secretary of state, minister to Portugal and ambassador to Berlin. 
New York and Washington papers please copy." 



190 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

which was full of women. . . . Portuguese bull-fights are supposed to 
be less dangerous than Spanish ones owing to the tipping of the horns, 
but in Lisbon I saw a man killed by falling on his head after being 
tossed. April 8, 1867, we went by rail from Lisbon to Carregado, 
where we were met by an ancient chariot and pair, driving thence by 
Cereal to Caldas da Rainha, where we passed the night. Next day 
we drove to the famous Abbey of Alcobaca, of which Beckford gives 
so interesting a description before its devastation ; then by Aljubarrota 
to the still more famous Church and Monastery of Batalha, an archi- 
tectural creation of marvellous beauty. April 10, we drove from Leiria 
to Pombal, taking thence a train to Oporto, where we stayed two days 
and with which we were greatly pleased. Our intention had been to 
go on to Braga and the Minho country, but in order to reach Seville 
for Holy Week we had to give this up. We found time, however, for 
half a day at the quaint old city of Coimbra, where we were treated 
with great courtesy at the University aud elsewhere. Leaving there 
in the evening of April 13, we travelled by rail via Badajoz to Merida, 
which we reached at six the next morning and there took the dili- 
gence across country to Seville. This was a very unusual route for 
foreigners to take, and as it was Palm Sunday, with villages en fete, 
we saw a great deal of local coloring. The road was very rough, our 
horses numbering from nine to twelve. After passing Almendralejo, 
not a bad-looking town, we entered upon the dirty, interminable 
plains of Estremadura, but by sundown were out into the defiles of 
the Sierra Morena. Our supper towards midnight in a vaulted kitchen, 
jammed with muleteers and peasants, with huge logs blazing in a 
mediaeval fireplace was indescribably weird. Everybody was polite, 
but we excited great curiosity. AVe reached Seville on the morning 
of April 15 and stayed there nine days, enjoying every moment. . . . 
April 27, we took a small steamer to Gibraltar, where the Governor 
Gen. Sir Richard Airey, an old friend of my father, was very civil, 
and at dinner at his residence, ' The Convent,' we met a number of 
officers. April 30, we went over to Morocco in the steamer Hercules, 
passing a day and night in Tangier, — that apotheosis of picturesque 
filth, — scouring its environs on horseback with a guide named Mo- 
hammed Ben Jackjemed, besides being presented to the Moorish 
Governor and smoking a little 'opium. In the afternoon of May 1st 
we returned to Gibraltar, starting for Andalusia the next morning with 
a guide and three horses, the one which fell to my lot being an English 
hunter, — the whole trip having been planned by Sprague, the U. S. 
Consul, a very gentlemanly and obliging person. The road was a mere 
mule-path, but the scenery glorious, and after ten hours in the saddle, 
— lunching on an islet in the Guadiaro River, — we reached Gaucin, 
where we had an excellent dinner in a vaulted kitchen, the landlord's 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 191 

daughter decking the table with wild flowers. The next morning 
(May 3) we were in the saddle at 6.45 and reached Ronda at 2.30 
p.m. without drawing rein, — a neat, pretty town, looking in the 
distance like a castle in a fairy tale. Wonderful bridge over the 
Tajo, the chasm being 300 feet deep, and perhaps as wonderful 
Ronda oranges which do not bear transportation. The English papers 
of this period represented this part of Spain as infested by brigands, 
but we met none but polite peasantry, and the ' Guardias Civiles ' 
seemed to spring out of the ground by magic. Throughout this trip 
I was greatly struck by the excellence of the Spanish police. . . . 
Saturday, May 4, we were in the saddle soon after 5 a.m. The mule 
path grew worse and the scenery grander and grander, as we crossed 
two high mountains of the Serrania chain. Passing the town and 
castle of El Burgo, we rested for a while at Casarabonela, and at 
sunset reached Pizarra, a pretty little place embosomed in orange and 
lemon trees, rhododendrons and pomegranates. Here we passed the 
night, faring comfortably in a roadside tavern frequented by muleteers, 
— capital ham and eggs, clean beds, but no wash-stand. Here also 
we parted with our guide, who with true Castilian dignity swept the 
money into his sash uncounted. Sunday, May 5, we went by rail 
to Malaga and the following afternoon by Bobadilla to Antequera, 
where the rail ceased and we had an uncomfortable night journey in 
a diligence, via Archidona and Loja, to Granada, which we reached 
at 8 a.m., May 7, 1867. Here we stayed three delightful days, en- 
chanted with the Alhambra, more than enchanted with the general life. 
Altogether we enjoyed Granada more than anything else in Spain." 

Crossing the frontier May 28, Mr. Howe at Bayonne parted 
from Mr. Winthrop, and went to Aix les Bains, while Winthrop 
went on to Paris. He was there forced to succumb to an attack 
of his " old enemy," water on the knee, the result of over 
exertion in Spain. After a summer passed largely as a cripple, 
" dragged about the Great Exposition in bath-chair," on the 
1st of August Mr. Winthrop set out on a trip to Russia, in 
company with his step-brother, George Welles, recently (1866) 
graduated from Harvard. Going by way of Rheims and Nancy 
to Munich, at Salzburg they joined for a time the elder Win- 
throp and his family, who had gone abroad in June, and with 
them went to Linz. Steaming down the Danube to Vienna, 
they passed on to Pesth and Cracow, which the tourists thought 
" a nice old place, with too many Jews." Thence they went 
to Warsaw ; but, rumors of cholera cutting short their stay, 
they hurried on to St. Petersburg, getting there Septera- 



192 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

ber 1, and finding it quite cold. September 9, they reached 
Moscow — 

"after another long journey; and liked it much better than St. 
Petersburg on the whole. Besides the sights in the city and its neigh- 
borhood, we travelled two and a half hours by rail to the famous mon- 
astery of Troitsa, where we saw, among other things, the venerable 
Philarete, Patriarch of Moscow, then aged 90 and very feeble. The 
weather was so cold we abandoned our proposed trip to the great Fair of 
Nijui Novgorod, and, September 14, 1867, returned to St. Petersburg, 
where we stayed four and a half more days, and after a long journey, 
via Wilna and Konigsberg, reached Danzig in the evening of September 
19th. The most distinct impression three weeks in Russian dominions 
made upon me was the rapacity of the natives, the excellence of the 
ballets, and the magnificent mode of life of the Imperial family. Dan- 
zig we found a quaint and attractive place, the Nuremberg of the North. 
September 21, we reached Berlin, where our Minister, Mr. Bancroft, 
was very civil. Three days later on leaving the Royal Palace I un- 
accountably slipped on an iron staircase and in falling broke one of the 
bones of my right arm just above the wrist, the setting being very pain- 
ful. This disarranged all our plans. There was nothing to be done 
but to return to Paris as soon as I was able to travel, which was not 
until the evening of September 30, with my arm in a plaster cast. . . . 
On the 23d of October the plaster was taken off my arm and I resumed 
my ordinary Parisian life, besides occasionally attending debates in 
the French Chambers, listening to Thiers and Rouher among other 
speakers." 

The following is from Mr. Winthrop's " Scribbling-diary," 
as he termed the somewhat characteristic notes relating among 
other matters to the debates to which he listened at the period 
referred to : — 

"Dec. 4, 1867. Jules Favre's speech a violent denunciation of a 
state of things for which he suggests no remedy. 

" Dec. 9th. At the Corps Legislatif with my father from 1 to 6.30. 
Dull speech of nearly two hours from Garnier-Pages, then an eloquent, 
bitter one from Emile Ollivier, whom Thiers interrupted, and then 
replied to in the most excited manner amid much cheering. Alto- 
gether an interesting and animated debate on the Foreign policy of the 
Government. Schneider, an estimable man, but a poor presiding officer. 
Thiers reminded me of Mr. Savage in manner. Rouher is somewhat 
Websterian with fine flashes and retorts. Garnier-Pages a trifle Cal- 
hounish ; while Ollivier has a fine voice, but looks like a little 
Jew." 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 193 

Returning to America after an absence of over two years, 
Mr. Winthrop reached New York early in December, 1868, 
and passed the rest of the winter in Boston, busy disman- 
tling the dwelling-house at No. 1 Pemberton Square, in which 
his father had made his home for twenty years. On the 1st of 
the following June Mr. Winthrop married Elizabeth, oldest 
daughter of Robert M. Mason, of Boston. Ten years his 
junior, he had made Miss Mason's acquaintance at Pau in 
1862. Of the second Mrs. Winthrop he long afterwards 
wrote, — "We have now [1902] been married nearly a third 
of a century, and I can truly say I have never known a woman 
who possessed for me so irresistible a charm." 

Like himself, Mrs. Winthrop preferred Europe to America ; 
so a month after their marriage they sailed from New York 
(June 30, 1869). Passing the winter in Italy, where he under- 
went severe illness, causing some temporary anxiety, Mr. 
Winthrop and his wife the next May returned to Paris, and 
the summer found them in Switzerland, reaching Berlin by 
way of Vienna. It was the year of the Franco-German war 
and the downfall of the Second Empire : — 

" September 19 found us at the Hotel du Nord at Berlin, where we 
stayed eight days, with excursions to Potsdam, etc. Little sign of war 
save contribution-boxes for the wounded, and rows of captured cannon 
and mitrailleuses in the Palace-Court. Amazing caricatures of Napo- 
leon III. in shop windows, with some indecent ones of the Empress 
Eugenie. At dinner at our Minister's [Mr. Bancroft] I sat next to 
Brandt, Queen Augusta's private secretary, who said the King had 
testified to the personal courage displayed by Napoleon III. at Sedan, 
to his moral courage in surrendering to avoid useless slaughter, and to 
the dignity with which he bore himself after the surrender. He further 
stated that Moltke's plans for this campaign were drawn four years ago, 
that the latter's secret agents had satisfied him of the French inferiority 
of numbers and the insufficient armament of their fortresses, that the 
Chassepot was really a better weapon than the needle-gun, but that 
the French fired hurriedly and too high. 

"Sept. 27, 1870. We went from Berlin to Cassel, where we were 
delighted with the Gallery, which I had never seen, and with Wilhelms- 
hohe, the German Versailles, where Napoleon III. was in luxurious 
captivity. He had gone out on horseback, but we saw several of his 
suite, including Edgar Ney and Achille Murat, smoking and reading 
newspapers on the terrace. From Cassel we had intended going to 
Detmold, but finding the railway service disorganized by the war we 

25 



194 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

beaded for Holland, passing a night each at Soest and Salzbergen, 
reaching Amsterdam October 2d, 1870." 

Passing the following winter in England, but going again to 
Italy in April, Mr. and Mrs. Winthrop crossed the Simplon by 
carriage and four, lunched (May 23) on the summit and slept 
at Brieg, going thence to Vevey, getting back to Paris " at 
last," the middle of June, "after a year's absence, finding the 
luggage we left at the Orient in good condition. We were 
among the earliest of the foreign colony to re-enter Paris, find- 
ing in every direction interesting traces of the Prussian siege 
and the brutal devastation of the Commune." This, Mr. 
Winthrop's last visit to Paris was of five weeks' duration. 
Leaving for England, July 20, he and Mrs. Winthrop passed 
the summer there, and in Wales. 

"Sept. 16, 1871, we sailed from Liverpool in the Cunard steamer 
' Russia,' landing in New York on the morning of the 26th, after 
an absence from America of two years and a quarter. At that time 
we fully expected to return to Europe in the course of a year or two, 
but a variety of causes led us to postpone it, — the birth of chil- 
dren, my father's dependence upon me, my father-in-law's indisposition 
to part with his daughter, etc. It was not until the spring of 1895 that 
my wife went abroad on an absence of a year and a half, and tho ? 
my three children have been repeatedly in Europe, I have never set 
foot there since 1871, my health since my father's death, in 1894, hav- 
ing been very uncertain, indisposing me for distant journeys." 

At the time of his return to America in 1871, Mr. Winthrop 
was not yet thirty-seven. He and his wife thereafter lived in 
Boston, for twenty years passing their summers at various 
places in houses hired for the season, — at Lenox, at Lincoln, 
at Medford and at Beverly. In 1894, however, they bought, 
at Manchester-by-the-Sea, an unfinished house, begun on a 
large scale by C. A. Prince, on a place comprising, with land 
bought from others, some forty acres. The completion of the 
house, the building of the outhouses and stables and laying- 
out the adjoining grounds, afforded Mr. Winthrop occupation 
and interest for several of the closing years of his life. His 
summing up was, however, characteristic. 

" The disadvantages of a New England country-place are the great 
liability to occasional drought, the mosquitoes which in some seasons 
are very trying, the great difficulty in finding a trustworthy and capa- 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 195 

ble head-gardener, and the still greater difficulty in finding suitable 
hands to work under him. With all these drawbacks it is well worth 
doing if one can afford it, and the advantage of receiving from it in the 
winter months flowers, milk, cream and eggs, is very great. Really 
fresh eggs are the one thing money will not buy. 

" We named this summer residence ' Lanthorne Hill ' after the estate 
in Connecticut which formed part of the possessions of Gov. John Win- 
throp, Jr., descending thro' five generations of his descendants and so 
often referred to in our family papers. It was never inhabited by them, 
however, and when found to be of little value for mining purposes con- 
tinued a wild, ragged hill of great extent overlooking the Sound near 
what is now Stonington. Land has of late so much increased in value 
in the neighborhood of West Manchester that I foresee that when my 
wife and I are gone the modern Lanthorne Hill will be cut, up into 
building lots. 

"Since my final return from Europe towards the close of 1871,1 
have led for the most part a quiet domestic life, the one best suited to 
my mature tastes, but a great contrast to my early ones. My wife 
cared little for general society, and I gradually withdrew more and 
more from the gay world, besides losing my interest in popular amuse- 
ments. Still less did I fancy opportunities which sometimes opened for 
acquiring a certain notoriety as a speaker at public dinners, a lecturer 
on historical subjects, a reviewer of books or periodicals, or in serving 
on committees of one sort or another. My father would have had me 
more ambitious, but I am satisfied that my preference for the back- 
ground accorded best with my contentment and my health. I have felt 
flattered to find it sometimes said ' he might have been distinguished 
had he chosen to exert himself,' but I should have been stung by any 
insinuation that I had tried to make a figure in the world and failed. 

" My time, however, has by no means wholly been devoted to domes- 
tic pursuits. Aside from the assistance I constantly rendered my father 
in his numerous undertakings, I was for twenty years an active member 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society of which both my father and 
grandfather had been Presidents, but in which I preferred to hold no 
office. During this period three of its volumes of Collections were in 
great measure prepared and edited by me, while its volumes of Pro- 
ceedings contain more than 100 communications of mine on different 
subjects ; some short, others of considerable length, others privately 
reprinted in pamphlet form. They do not, however, contain a squib 1 
of mine in 1885, entitled 'A Few Words in Defence of an Elderly 
Lady,' being a reply to Dr. G. E. Ellis, who in an address on Chief 
Justice Sewali had gone out of his way to attack the widow of Wait 

1 A Difference of Opinion concerning the Reasons why Katherine Winthrop 
refused to marry Chief Justice Sewali. Boston. Privately Printed, 1885. 



196 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

Winthrop, whom Sewall had vainly endeavored to marry. This pro- 
duction, on being read to the Society, met with such success that I 
printed it for private distribution, resisting repeated offers from pub- 
lishers. My memoir of my father, 1 tho' nominally prepared for the 
Historical Society, was separately printed in a volume of 360 pages, and 
two editions of it were widely circulated by me in public libraries 
throughout this country and abroad. 

" Genealogical pursuits have also occupied me more or less, chiefly 
in relation to my own family or those immediately connected with it. 
For instance, the first volume of J. J. Muskett's ' Suffolk Manorial 
Families ' was printed chiefly at my expense, and fifty copies of the 
first four parts of it were caused to be bound and distributed by me with 
the title ' Winthrop of Groton and Allied Families.' 

" Besides the above-mentioned Memoir of my father a shorter one of 
my father-in-law, Robert M. Mason, and one of my father's cousin, 
Hon. David Sears, — all separately printed as well as included in the 
Society's Proceedings, — I wrote for the Ipswich Historical Society all 
but the local part of a ' Sketch of John Winthrop the Younger,' print- 
ing it at my own expense with frontispiece and facsimiles. 

"The re-arrangement of the large collection of Colonial MSS. 
conventionally known as the Winthrop Papers 2 has occupied much of 
my time at different periods. A large number of these MSS. have 
been deciphered and copied by me, while valuable selections from 
them have been given by me to the State Library of Connecticut, 
Yale University Library, the Pilgrim Society, Long Island Historical 
Society, et al. 

" For many years I was one of the Trustees of the Boston Athe- 
nasum, serving on its Library Committee, but I preferred to retire on 
account of dissatisfaction with the management of that institution and 
a wish to avoid controversy with colleagues who were my personal 
friends. For many years also I was a member of the locally famous 
' Wednesday Evening Club of 1777,' until an increasing deafness, com- 
bined with less and less inclination to go out of an evening, decided me 
to retire. 

" Without ever having been an especially robust man I enjoyed 
average health until my sixty-third year. . . . 

" The death of my father in 1894, in his 86th year, was a merciful 
release from protracted suffering, but the death of my brother John, in 

1 A Memoir of Robe.rt C. Winthrop. Prepared for the Massachusetts His- 
torical Society by Robert C. Winthrop, Jr. Boston, 1897. 

2 This exceptionally valuable collection of papers, bequeathed by Mr. Win- 
throp to his wife, with a suggestion that from her they should pass ultimately 
into the control of the Massachusetts Historical Society, were, shortly after Mr. 
Winthrop's death, given by Mrs. Winthrop to the Society. See Proceedings, 
2d ser., vol. xix. p. 307. ' 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 197 

the following year, at the age of only fifty-four, was a great grief to 
me, for tho' we had few tastes in common we were very fond of one 
another and every one was fond of him. . . . The successive deaths of 
so many intimate friends of my early life, of both sexes, has contributed 
to render my life, in recent years, more and more that of a recluse, and 
I pass it mostly with books and manuscripts. My political opinions 
can substantially be gleaned from my Life of my father, but I am not 
as good an American as he was, nor am I fully certain that I should 
not have had Loyalist sympathies at the outbreak of the Revolution." 

The passage here referred to in the Memoir of the elder 
Robert C. Winthrop is both in thought and expression so 
characteristic of the writer that no sketch of his life would be 
complete without it. Moreover it was evidently written as a 
species of declaration of political faith, — a parting protest 
against tendencies as the younger Robert C. had observed 
them : — 

" He held many old-fashioned views upon a variety of subjects, some 
of which were of a character to excite disgust or derision in the breast 
of any self-respecting ' advanced-thinker.' For instance, he believed 
that the best way to check crime lies in the prompt and effective pun- 
ishment of a convicted criminal, and, though a tender-hearted man, he 
not merely approved the death-penalty, but considered flogging an 
admirable corrective to certain classes of offences. He was a total 
disbeliever in unrestricted suffrage, preferring, with his friend Francis 
Lieber, an extensive suffrage, based upon property and education, 
within the gradual reach of all who chose strenuously to apply them- 
selves. He realized, however, that in such a matter there can be no 
step backward, and that one might as well try to lessen the number of 
flatulent demagogues in our legislative bodies, or of sensational writers 
in the press, or of notoriety-seeking preachers in the pulpit. He 
believed not only in a well-organized militia, but in a standing army 
large enough to secure the vigorous enforcement of the laws. In the 
abstract, he preferred the Republican form of government to any other, 
but the toppling over of a monarchy did not necessarily inspire him 
with unmixed exhilaration ; he sometimes doubted whether anything 
would be gained by the exchange. To him the name mattered little, 
the essentials being, in his judgment, an honest and efficient municipal 
system affording clean streets, good roads, and adequate protection to 
life and property; a trained civil, diplomatic, and consular service, safe 
from the ravening greed of party-hacks and office-seekers ; an intelli- 
gent and systematic effort to ameliorate the condition of the poorer 
classes ; and a degree of personal liberty not allowed to degenerate 



198 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

in'o license. He was not sanguine enough to expect all this anywhere 
in absolute perfection, but to try to approximate it in different parts 
of the world seemed to him wiser and more practical than to thrill with 
what is vaguely termed ' the enthusiasm of humanity/ or to ' prate,' as 
John Quincy Adams called it, ' about the Rights of Man.' Next to an 
exalted opinion of himself, the most sustaining reflection to many a 
man is the firm belief which often accompanies it, not only that every- 
thing is going on for the best in the best of all possible worlds, but 
that his own country is by all odds the most favored spot in the uni- 
verse and that its institutions should be unreservedly envied and imi- 
tated by other nations. If patriotism is to be gauged by any such 
spread-eagle standard, no amount of special pleading could disguise that 
Mr. Winthrop's was below par. Ardently as he loved his country, he 
was far from considering it faultless. Preferring it to any other, he 
thought it not improbable that if he had been born and bred in some 
other, he might have liked it equally well. He had a very high opin- 
ion of the average ability of American public men of all parties, and a 
still higher opinion of the capacity and ingenuity of that composite 
race, the American people ; but he sometimes wished they would not 
be so boastful, so credulous, so sensitive to the slightest foreign criti- 
cism, and so absorbingly agog about the doings — or alleged misdoings 

— of persons of title on the other side of the Atlantic." 

Mr. Winthrop was elected a member of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society in May, 1879 ; and it is speaking within 
bounds to say that to no person in its history has an election 
into our Society meant so much. He needed an impetus to 
exertion — an incitement and an interest. All these the 
Society furnished him. A man of distinct ability, with very 
considerable powers of application of a peculiar and uncertain 
character, with a striking vivacity of speech and expression, 
his sense of family pride was as pronounced as was his ten- 
dency to the indulgence of an inclination to ease ; but in our 
Society he felt a species of hereditary pride and, for it, even a 
sort of responsibility. Even this, however, lost its hold ; and, 
as time went on, he more and more inclined to seclusion. 
As he grew older, it was curious to observe him in his familiar 
haunts. Becoming a member of the Somerset Club immedi- 
ately after graduation, while he was yet in middle life he was 
there looked upon by the younger members as of an earlier 
generation. He seemed apart. Always easy and courteous, 

— possessing in a marked degree the Winthrop manner, — as 
his old friends one by one died off, their places, for him, 



1906.] MEMOIR OF ROBERT C. WINTHROP, JR. 199 

remained unfilled. Always temperate, as he ate at his soli- 
tary table he would habitually have before him a magazine or 
newspaper; but if a friend of his youth chanced to come in, 
and, dropping into the chair opposite, address him before the 
awestruck juniors by the familiar abbreviation of name, his 
face would at once light up as the old geniality returned. As 
a rule, however, the younger generation and its prattle did not 
interest him ; and even the theatre, or at any rate the Ameri- 
can theatre in its Boston stage of development, had ceased to 
amuse. Yet his letters were sprightly and pleasant to the 
end ; caustic and full of observation. He seemed also to take 
pleasure in writing them. 

A constant reader, he never lost his appreciation of liveli- 
ness and humor in literature : but the passing away of his 
early intimates affected him deeply. At last, of those men- 
tioned in his notes of travel, and whose photographs hung on 
the walls of that room in the Walnut St. house which was 
the favorite retreat of his later years, one only survived, — 
Charles Thorndike, his classmate and lifelong friend. Mr. 
Winthrop's existence thus became more and more solitary and 
self-centred. He yielded to the inclination. For nearly a 
score of years the Historical Society supplied him with an 
interest, and his interest gave no indication of abatement up 
to our removal from the Tremont Street building and its 
immediate proximit}^ to the grave of Governor John Winthrop 
to our present Fenway habitation. That was in 1899. In 
the transfer Mr. Winthrop acquiesced. He saw that the 
time for it had come ; but unfortunately, so far as the Society 
was concerned, he seemed to have concluded that his time 
had come also. Though after our removal an occasional 
visitor at the building, he ceased to take part in our meet- 
ings. His presence was greatly missed. For years he had 
not only communicated frequent papers, but he had been 
prominent in our discussions ; and, as was truly remarked 
here at the meeting following his death, it was curious to 
see how, when he took the floor, the Society, however somno- 
lently inclined before, invariably became animated and ex- 
pectant. Any atmosphere of indifference or tedium at once 
was dispelled. He also for many years, especially during the 
presidency of Dr. Ellis, interested himself greatly in the 
Society's affairs and influenced its policy, usually for the better. 



200 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mar. 

His great mistake was in not altogether identifying himself 
with it ; for his so doing would certainly have increased his own 
happiness, added largely to his usefulness, and probably have 
prolonged his life. It would also have benefited the Society. 
On the death of Dr. Ellis (1894) Mr. Winthrop ought to 
have succeeded to the chair his grandfather and father had 
occupied. That he should consent so to do was urged upon 
him, not least by the writer of this sketch. He wholly de- 
clined to consider the proposition ; and, when the younger 
Robert C. Winthrop had made up his mind on any subject, 
especially one concerning himself, he was distinctly the re- 
verse of amenable to suggestions of change. But had he in 
this case been willing to accept the chair which would gladly 
have been proffered him, and then occupied himself actively 
in re-editing his first Massachusetts ancestor's journal, and 
publishing the family papers, he would have rendered his 
later years far happier while making a notable contribution 
to history. He had the ability ; he had the culture ; he had 
the material, and the means to use it ; unfortunately he 
lacked both ambition and incentive. 

Dying at his house in Boston on Monday, June 5, 1905, Mr. 
Winthrop was buried the succeeding Friday from the St. 
John's Memorial Chapel of the Episcopal Theological School 
at Cambridge, erected by his father-in-law, Robert M. Mason, 
in memory of his wife and children. It was also character- 
istic of Mr. Winthrop that he gave detailed directions as to 
the exercises on the occasion, specifying as a hymn the English 
rendering of the Dies irce, dies ilia, — " Oh ! day of wrath, 
oh! dreadful day." He left a widow and three children, one 
son and two daughters: but, for the first time since the organ- 
ization of this Society on the 24th of January, 1791, the name 
of Winthrop ceased to appear on its roll. In the case of no 
other family had membership been both original and unbroken. 



1906.] REPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 201 



ANNUAL MEETING, APRIL, 1906. 

The Annual Meeting was held on Thursday, the 12th in- 
stant, at twelve o'clock, noon ; the President in the chair. 

The record of the March meeting was read and approved ; 
and the Librarian and Corresponding Secretary presented 
their monthly reports. 

Mr. Lindsay Swift, of Boston, was elected a Resident 
Member. 

It was announced that a new Volume of the Proceedings — 
Volume XIX. of the second series — and a new serial, com- 
prising the record of the January and February meetings were 
ready for distribution. 

Messrs. Charles C. Smith, Winslow Warren, and Edward 
Channing were appointed a Committee to publish a further 
selection from the Bowdoin and Temple Papers, of which the 
first part was published in 1897. 

Mr. James F. Hunnewell, Senior Member at Large of the 
Council, presented their report, as follows : — • 

Report of the Council. 

The passing year brings at its close the annual Review 
of the Society's history given in the Report of the Council, 
including financial, personal, literary, and general subjects. 
From the Treasurer, Librarian, and Cabinet-Keeper, come the 
detailed accounts of their departments. 

The estate of the Society, investment and literary or art 
property, continues, we might say by good habits, to increase. 
By degrees, and sometimes by bounds, it grows larger, and it 
also continues to receive good care. As the Treasurer and 
Auditors show us, the amount of investment for income has 
reached the total of 8424,070.39 with a present market value 
of $475,000, belonging to twenty-two Funds. 

If we would fully realize the growth, we can look back over 
what is called the active period of a human life, and see what 

26 



202 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

these totals were thirty years ago, in 1876 — about $52,300, in 
five Funds. 

These results have not come by gifts from suddenly acquired 
millions, but from good old New England thrift. We can, 
for instance, well reflect on what we have derived from the 
patient economies of Thomas Dowse, and of John Langdon 
Sibley. The whole list of benefactors is, indeed, one of old 
local worth. During the year Funds have been increased that 
bear one of the most distinguished family names in Massachu- 
setts. By the will of Robert Charles Winthrop, the younger 
of that name, $5000 were added to the Fund bequeathed by 
his father, and $2000 to that bequeathed by William Winthrop 
of Malta. 

Very remarkable additions to the Society's treasures were 
made by the bequest of William S. Appleton of United States 
Coins and Medals announced in June, and by the gift of the 
Winthrop Papers in October. Each of these great collections, 
very exceptional of its kind and of national importance, is 
placed here, wisely we may think. 

Nature moves on its course inevitable and resistless, and 
our roll of the departed continues for the current year. Of 
Resident Members, Robert Charles Winthrop, Jr. — distin- 
guished contributor of papers and of funds, born December 7, 
1834, elected May 8, 1879, — died in Boston June 5, 1905. 

James M. Barker, born 1839, elected April 9, 1896, died in 
Boston October 3, 1905. 

Stephen Salisbury, prominent in many offices, born 1835, 
elected November 10, 1881, died November 16, 1905 — last of 
the Salisburys of Worcester. 

William Phineas Upham, born 1836, elected November 11, 
1875, died in Newtonville November 23, 1905. 

Of Corresponding Members, John Hay, eminent diploma- 
tist, elected June, 1900, died in Newbury, N. H., July 1,1905. 

There have been two resignations : John Carver Palfrey, 
Resident, December 14, 1905 (who died January 29, 1906), 
and William Ashmead Courtenay, Corresponding, also on 
December 14, 1905. Deaths, 5 ; resignations, 2. 

Six Resident, and three Corresponding Members have been 
elected. Of the former, Henry Greenleaf Pearson, April 13, 
1905; Bliss Perry, May 11, 1905; John Lathrop, December 
14, 1905 ; Edwin Doak Mead, January 11, 1906 ; Edwin Henry 



1906.] REPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 203 

Clement, February 8, 1906, and William Endicott, March 8, 
1906. Of the latter, Gabriel Hanotaux of Paris, May 11, 1905 ; 
Hubert Hall of London, December 14, 1905, and Andrew 
Cunningham McLaughlin, March 8, 1906. There are now two 
vacancies in the Resident Membership. 

Important among personal events was, in January, the 
resignation caused by illness, of the Rev. Dr. Edward J. 
Young, for the past twenty-two years Recording Secretary; 
also the election of his successor, Mr. Edward Stan wood. 

Of papers read to the Society there has been no lack in 
number, in variety, and in subject. Through more than a 
century offerings of the sort have been made, yet still there is 
material and ability for more, and it is well to observe results 
in the past year. 

At the May meeting President Adams spoke of three pam- 
phlets : "The Naming of Hull," by Albert Matthews, Presi- 
dent Smith's Address at Clinton on Shays's Rebellion, and Mr. 
Bingham of Ashville, N. C, on " Sectional Misunderstand- 
ings " ; Mr. William R. Thayer read a long and brilliant 
paper on "The Outlook in History"; Mr. Franklin B. San- 
born spoke of two early Colonial physicians, Dr. Greenland 
and Dr. Barefoot ; Mr. James F. Hunnewell presented " Latest 
and Earliest Town Views " with gift of five local views, and 
exhibition of others made in the fifteenth century ; and Hon. 
Samuel A. Green a paper on the " Washington Oak at Mount 
Vernon." 

At the June meeting President Adams read a long and 
important paper, a result of much thought and keen personal 
observation, entitled " Some Notes made in Africa on the Brit- 
ish Occupation of Egypt and the Soudan, and on the Status of 
the African in the Upper Nile Region. 1 ' This memorial of his 
notable visit to the interior of the " Dark Continent " — on 
which he threw much light — was not, at his suggestion, 
printed in the Proceedings. We heard in it an account of the 
most distant and remarkable tour ever made by a President of 
this Society. 

At the October meeting he read, in part, a longer paper, 
which is printed in full with the record of the meeting. It 
relates to " Mr. Rhodes's Fifth Volume." It is a review of 
important features of our Civil War made with the character- 
istic force and learning of its author on passages written by 



204 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

one suggested to have the place of our American Clarendon. 
Mr. Charles C. Smith communicated long extracts from the 
interesting manuscript Memoirs of the Rev. Dr. John Pierce 
of Brookline, and added some remarks on them. 

At the November meeting William A. Dunning, LL. D., of 
Columbia University, a Corresponding Member, read a paper 
on u A Little More Light on Andrew Johnson " — much more 
light, it might be said, on that president's noted first annual 
message ; and Mr. Charles P. Bowditch presented documents 
and remarks on the treatment of negro seamen at the South 
in 1842-1843. 

In December Mr. Charles C. Smith continued instructive 
extracts from the Memoirs of the Rev. Dr. John Pierce ; Hon, 
Samuel A. Green communicated j:or Senator Henry Cabot Lodge 
family letters by Mrs. John T. Kirkland, giving very interesting 
accounts of her social life abroad in 1830-1832 ; and President 
Adams communicated a letter from the Hon. John Quincy 
Adams, and a long and important account of that statesman 
in the Twenty-second Congress. 

In January, President Adams presented an admirable 
Memorial to Congress on the preservation of the frigate " Con- 
stitution" which was signed by all the officers of the Society; 
Mr. Dalton read a letter on Designs upon Postage Stamps of 
the United States, and Mr. Stanwood a paper on the Massa- 
chusetts Election in 1806. 

In February, Hon. Samuel A. Green, on behalf of Hon. 
John Bigelow, senior Corresponding Member, presented a 
paper on Nini's statuette of Benjamin Franklin, and Mr. San- 
born one on " S! John de Crevecoeur, the American Farmer." 
In March, President Adams narrated the history of his book- 
plate, based upon that of John Adams, 1783, and forming, we 
can well believe, the most historic book-plate in our country. 
Colonel Thomas L. Livermore read a long and interesting 
paper on the Appomattox Campaign, refuting an unhistorical 
report concerning the retreat of General Lee. Mr. Charles K. 
Bolton followed, with a paper on " McCrady's opinion of Gen- 
eral Greene." These two papers are important in correcting 
history. 

Other literary work especially for the Society is in Memoirs 
of deceased Members, that are not only tributes to former 
associates, but that, in the course of years, form a valuable 



1906.] EEPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 205 

and interesting Biographical Dictionary of Worthies of the 
State. 

In April, Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., presented a long and ad- 
mirable Memoir of a typical Bostonian of the old, higher class, 
Colonel Henry Lee ; and Mr. Nathaniel Paine and President 
G. Stanley Hall, one of Senator George Frisbie Hoar. From 
among all his many widely varied associates this tribute comes 
well from his townsmen, friends of many years. In view of 
the immense services to country and to mankind rendered by 
the Great Senator, differences of opinion fade, and each of us 
may well say with Hamlet (I, 2) : — 

" He was a man, take him for all in all, 
I shall not look upon his like again." 

Also Hon. William W. Crapo presented his Memoir of John 
S. Brayton, distinguished antiquary and business, man of 
southeastern Massachusetts. 

In October came Judge James M. Barker's Memoir of 
Henry Walbridge Taft, of Pittsfield, representing another ex- 
treme part of the State. In December, Mr. Samuel Savage 
Shaw gave a detailed and interesting account of the busy life 
of Uriel H. Crocker, and in March, Prof. H. W. Haynes a 
Memoir of Judge Mellen Chamberlain, also later one of 
Theodore Lyman, and one of Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., were 
presented by President Adams. 

The Serial Publications of the Society, have been as usual, 
continued ; the Collections reaching the fifth volume of the 
seventh series (Part third of the Heath Papers), or the sixty- 
fifth since the start in 1792, and the Proceedings the nine- 
teenth of the second series, or the fortieth volume since the 
beginning in 1859. Besides these one hundred and five vol- 
umes, with their great amount and variety of historical matter, 
the Society has issued (besides some smaller work) its Cata- 
logue of 1811, one volume, and the far larger one of 1860 two 
volumes, also Twelve Lectures at the Lowell Institute, 1869, 
one volume, and, in 1906, Catalogue of the Library and Col- 
lection of Letters, etc., bequeathed by the Rev. Robert C. 
Waterston, thus making one hundred and nine octavos in the 
one hundred and fifteen years of the Society's life — proving 
active as well as good work. 

Three other events in the Society's history during the year 



206 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

should be mentioned. It, and especially its President, may 
well be congratulated on the success of efforts made to preserve 
the historic frigate " Constitution." Very pleasant to the many 
attendants was the luncheon given by Vice-President Rhodes, 
April 13th, and that given by President Adams, June 8th. 

Apart from services to the Society its members have proved 
their activity by works on their own account, a list of which 
for the past year has been handed to me, and is appended to 
this Report. 

With a long and honorable past, and a flourishing present, 
this Society can, with due care, have an even longer, successful 
future. 

Without instructions about subjects for comment, I may, 
perhaps, be allowed to follow precedents, and mention some 
of my own thoughts. 

This Society, like others of its kind, is a trust — in the 
old meaning of the word. In regard to invested funds the 
course is plain,— they must from time to time be changed, but 
always so as at least to preserve the principal. In regard to 
books, manuscripts, and plates the course should be substan- 
tially the same, without the change but with the preservation, 
especially when these possessions are of exceptional rarity, 
and cannot like money be replaced. The collection here, for 
example, is particularly one of early New England history and 
literature. It is impressive, startling, when we realize the 
small number of copies of these earlier printed works that 
exist. On one not very long shelf all could stand. Years of 
watching are now needed for obtaining most of them, and 
many of the later works of history and literature owned by the 
Society are of increasing rarity, its manuscripts are, of course, 
unique. Available sources for fresh supplies are almost 
exhausted. 

Two hundred and more years hence, intelligent men will 
want to know what were the fine and rare books of the 
seventeenth to the nineteenth century, and to consult them. 
Amid the wear and loss ceaselessly occurring, here is a place 
for preservation, and with that under due and careful guard 
there can be all proper use. 

Most of the treasures of late obtainable have been saved and 
preserved with loving care by collectors ; by such care they 
should everywhere be kept. 



1906.] 



REPORT OF THE COUNCIL. 207 



Around this Society at its meetings is a collection of litera- 
ture fit to surround any group of scholars in the English-speak- 
ing world. The benign old collector of the volumes looks down 
on you, and on them. And a greater also looks down on you 
and them — the Shakespeare of Romance turning thought to 
his wonderful library that long after him still looks on the room 
he made and loved, and out on the broad lawn and the rippling 
Tweed, also his delight. The sunshine streams in, both here 
and there, and brightens the golden array of precious works, 
and may men of the twenty-second century see all of them 
as fair. 1 

Publications of Members. 

A Milestone Planted. Address of Charles Francis Adams at Lin- 
coln, Massachusetts, April 23, 1904, on the One Hundred and Fiftieth 
Anniversary of the Incorporation of the Town. 

The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the 
Massachusetts Bay : to which are prefixed the Charters of the Prov- 
ince. With historical and explanatory notes, and an appendix. Volume 
XIII., being Volume VIII. of the Appendix, containing Resolves, etc., 
1741-1746. Edited by Melville M. Bigelow. 

Cases on the Law of Bills, Notes and Cheques. By Melville M. 
Bigelow. Second edition by F. L. Simpson. 

A History of the United States. Vol. I. The Planting of a Nation 
in the New World. 1000-1660. By Edward Channing. 

The Jeffersonian System. By Edward Channing. [Vol. XII. of 
" The American Nation," edited by Albert Bushnell Hart.] 

Curious Features of some of the early notes or bills used as a circu- 
lating medium in Massachusetts. By Andrew McFarland Davis. 

P^mergent" Treasury-supply in Massachusetts in early days. By 
Andrew McFarland Davis. 

The Limitation of Prices in Massachusetts, 1776-1779. By Andrew 
McFarland Davis. 

The England and Holland of the Pilgrims, By the late Henry M. 
Dexter, and his son Morton Dexter. 

An Historical Address delivered at Groton, Massachusetts, July 12, 
1905, by request of the citizens, on the celebration of the Two Hun- 
dred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of the Town. By 
Samuel Abbott Green, a native of the Town. With an Appendix. 

Same, with the Proceedings of the day, published by the Town. 

Peabody Education Fund. Proceedings of the Trustees at their 

1 The references in the last paragraph are to the large portrait of Thomas 
Dowse at the head of the room, and to the white marble bust of Sir Walter 
Scott at the upper right-hand corner. 



208 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

Forty-seventh meeting, New York, 4 October, 1905. Edited by 
Samuel A. Green, Secretary and General Agent. 

Man without a Country. By Edward Everett Hale. School Edi- 
tion, new introduction and notes by the author. 

The American Nation ; a History from original sources by associated 
scholars. Edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, advised by various Histor- 
ical Societies. Vols. VI. to XIII., of which Vol. XII. on " The Jef- 
fersonian System" is by our associate, Edward Channing; Vol. VII., 
on " France in America," by Reuben Gold Thwaites, a Corresponding 
Member ; and Vols. X., XL, on " The Federal Constitution," and " The 
Federalist System," by Andrew Cunningham McLaughlin, a Corre- 
sponding Member. 

Essentials in American History, from the discovery to the present 
day. By Albert Bushnell Hart. 

Essentials in English History. By Albert Perry Walker, in consul- 
tation with Albert Bushnell Hart. 

George Frisbie Hoar. By Thomas Wentworth Higginson. 

History of the United States from 986 to 1905. New edition, re- 
vised to date. By Thomas Wentworth Higginson and William 
Macdonald. 

Part of a Man's Life. By Thomas Wentworth Higginson. 

Diocese of Massachusetts. Twelfth Annual Address of the Rt. Rev. 
William Lawrence, D.D., to the Convention of the Diocese, May, 
1906. , 

The Keeping of a Parish Register. A letter to the Clergy of the 
Diocese. By William Lawrence. 

One Hundred Deacons. By William Lawrence. 

History of the United States. By J. W. Garner and Henry Cabot 
Lodge. 

Memoir of Colonel Henry Lee, with Selections from his Writings 
and Speeches. By John T. Morse, Jr. 

The Negro and the Nation. By George S. Merriam. 

Ashfield Children's exhibit and prize day. By Charles Eliot Norton. 

John Brown and his Friends. By Franklin B. Sanborn. 

The Diocesan Library, being the Twenty-second Annual Report 
made to the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
Diocese of Massachusetts, May, 1906. By Edmund F. Slafter. 

James Gillespie Blaine. By Edward Stanwood. [American States- 
men, second series.] 

A Short History of Venice. By William R. Thayer. 

The Annual Report of the Treasurer and the Report of the 
Auditiug Committee were presented in print : — 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 209 

Report of the Treasurer. 

In compliance with the requirements of the By-Laws, 
Chapter VII., Article 1, the Treasurer respectfully submits 
his Annual Report, made up to March 31, 1906. 

The special funds held by him are twenty-two in number, 
and are as follows : — 

I. The Appleton Fund, which was created Nov. 18, 1854, 
by a gift to the Society, from Nathan Appleton, William Ap- 
pleton, and Nathaniel I. Bowditch, trustees under the will of 
Samuel Appleton, of stocks of the appraised value of ten thou- 
sand dollars. These stocks were subsequently sold for $12,203, 
at which sum the fund now stands. The income is applicable 
to " the procuring, preserving, preparation, and publication of 
historical papers." The cost of publishing the Heath Papers 
was charged to the income of this fund. 

II. The Massachusetts Historical Trust-Fund, which 
now stands, with the accumulated income, at $10,000. This 
fund originated in a gift of two thousand dollars from the 
Hon. David Sears, presented Oct. 15, 1855, and accepted by 
the Society Nov. 8, 1855. On Dec. 26, 1866, it was increased 
by a gift of five hundred dollars from Mr. Sears, and another 
of the same amount from another associate, Nathaniel Thayer. 
The annual income must be added to the principal between 
July and January, or by " a recorded vote " of " the Society " 
it may " be expended in such objects as to them may be desir- 
able." The directions in Mr. Sears's declaration of trust may 
be found in the printed Proceedings for November, 1855. 

III. The Dowse Fund, given to the Society by George 
Livermore and Eben. Dale, executors of the will of Thomas 
Dowse, April 9, 1857, for the "safe keeping" of the Dowse 
Library, which was formally given by Mr. Dowse to the So- 
ciety in July, 1856. It amounts to 110,000. The income for 
the year has been placed to the credit of the General Account, 
in accordance with what was understood to be the wish of 
the executors. 

IV. The Peabody Fund, which was presented by the 
eminent banker and philanthropist George Peabody, in a letter 
dated Jan. 1, 1867, and now stands at $22,123. The income 
is available only for the publication and illustration of the 
Society's Proceedings and Memoirs, and for the preservation 

27 



210 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

of the Society's Historical Portraits. The cost of publishing a 
Consolidated Index to the Second Series of the Proceedings, 
for the preparation of which a committee has been appointed, 
will be charged against the income of this fund. 

V. The Savage Fund, which was a bequest of 15,000 
from the Hon. James Savage, President from 1841 to 1855, 
received in June, 1873. By a change of the original invest- 
ments the principal was increased $1,000, and the fund now 
stands on the books at the sum of $6,000. The income is to 
be used for the increase of the Society's Library. 

VL The Erastus B. Bigelow Fund, which was given in 
February, 1881, by Mrs. Helen Bigelow Merriman, in recogni- 
tion of her father's interest in the work of the Society. The 
original sum was one thousand dollars ; but the interest was 
added to the principal to bring the amount up to $2,000, at 
which it now stands. There is no restriction as to the use 
to be made of this fund ; but up to the present time the 
income has been used only for the purchase of books for the 
Library. 

VII. The William Winthrop Fund, which last year 
stood at the sum of $3,000, was received Oct. 13, 1882, under 
the will of William Winthrop, for many years a Correspond- 
ing Member of the Society. By the will of our associate the 
younger Robert C. Winthrop the sum of $2,000 was given to 
the Society to be added to and form part of the fund be- 
queathed by his kinsman. This sum was received by the 
Treasurer, Oct. 13, 1905, exactly twenty-three years after the 
receipt of the original bequest ; and the fund now stands at 
$5,000. The income is to be applied " to the binding for better 
preservation of the valuable manuscripts and books apper- 
taining to the Society." 

VIII. The Richard Frothingham Fund, which repre- 
sents a gift to the Society, on the 23d of March, 1883, from 
the widow of Richard Frothingham, Treasurer from 1847 to 
1877, of a certificate of twenty shares in the Union Stock Yard 
and Transit Co., of Chicago, of the par value of $100 each, 
and of the stereotype plates of Mr. Frothingham's " Siege of 
Boston," " Life of Joseph Warren," and " Rise of the Repub- 
lic." The fund stands on the Treasurer's books at $3,000, 
exclusive of the copyright. There are no restrictions on the 
uses to which the income may be applied. 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 211 

IX. The General Fund, which represents the following 
items: — 

1. A gift of two thousand dollars from the residuary estate 
of Mary Prince Townsend, by the executors of her will, 
William Minot and William Minot, Jr., in recognition of 
which, by a vote of the Society, passed June 13, 1861, the 
Treasurer was " directed to make and keep a special entry in 
his account books of this contribution as the donation of Miss 
Mary P. Townsend." 

2. A legacy of two thousand dollars from Henry Harris, 
received in July, 1867. 

3. A legacy of one thousand dollars from our associate 
George Bemis, received in March, 1879. 

4. A gift of one hundred dollars from our associate Ralph 
Waldo Emerson, received in April, 1881. 

5. A legacy of one thousand dollars from our associate 
Williams Latham, received in May, 1884. 

6. A bequest of five shares in the Cincinnati Gas-Light 
and Coke Co. from George Dexter, Recording Secretary 
from 1878 to 1883, received in June, 1884. This bequest for 
several years stood on the Treasurer's books at $900, at which 
sum the shares were valued when the incomes arising from 
separate investments were all merged in one consolidated 
account. Besides the regular quarterly dividends there has 
been received up to the present time from the sale of sub- 
scription rights, etc., the sum of $337.56, which has been 
added to the nominal amount of Mr. Dexter's bequest. 

7. A legacy of one thousand dollars from our associate 
Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar, received in February, 1895. 

8. A gift of one hundred dollars from Horace Davis, a 
Corresponding Member, received in April, 1904. 

9. A gift of one hundred dollars from our associate Edward 
D. Harris, received in March, 1905. 

10. Twenty-nine commutation fees of one hundred and 
fifty dollars each. 

11. The sum of 829,955.17 was withdrawn from the proceeds 
of the sale of the Tremont Street estate, and added to this 
fund ; the sum of 8731.70 received from the Medical Library 
for cost of party-wall was also deducted from the cost of the 
real estate, and added to this fund ; and in closing the accounts 
for the current year a payment of 8397 for permanent improve- 



212 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April 

merits was charged to this fund and credited to Building Ac- 
count. The net sum which has been credited to the fund 
from this source is $30,289.87. 

12. In March, 1888, when all the securities belonging to the 
Society were transferred to the consolidated investments, the 
sum of |100 was added to this fund to represent the increased 
market value at that time of an eight per cent bond of the 
Quincy and Palmyra Railroad Co. for $1,000, bought at par 
many years before, and specially held for this account. 

The amount of the fund at the present time is $43,277.43. 

X. The Anonymous Fund, which originated in a gift 
of $1,000 to the Society in April, 1887, communicated in a 
letter to the Treasurer, from a valued associate, printed in the 
Proceedings (2d series, vol. iii. pp. 277, 278). A further gift 
of $250 was received from the same generous friend in April, 

1888. The income has been added to the principal; and in 
accordance with the instructions of the giver this policy is to 
be continued (see Proceedings, 2d series, vol. xiii. pp. 6Q, 67). 
The fund now stands at $3,277.44. 

XL The William Amory Fund, which was a bequest of 
$3,000, from our associate William Amory, received Jan. 7, 

1889. There are no restrictions on the uses to which the 
income may be applied. 

XII. The Lawrence Fund, which was a bequest of 
$3,000, from our associate the younger Abbott Lawrence 
(H. XL, Class of 1849), received in June, 1894. The income 
is " to be expended in publishing the Collections and Pro- 
ceedings " of the Society. The cost of publishing Volume 
XVII. of the Second Series of the Proceedings was charged 
against the income of this fund. 

XIII. The Robert C. Winthrop Fund, which originated 
in a bequest of $5,000, from the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, 
President from 1855 to 1885, received in December, 1894. 
No restrictions were attached to this bequest; but by a vote 
of the Society passed Dec. 13, 1894, it was directed that the 
income " shall be expended for such purposes as the Council 
may from time to time direct." By the will of our late asso- 
ciate Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., the sum of $5,000 was given to 
the Society to be added to and form part of the fund be- 
queathed by his father. This sum was received Oct. 13, 1905 ; 
and this fund now stands at $10,000. 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 213 

XIV. The Waterston Publishing Fund, which was a 
bequest of 110,000, from our associate the Rev. Robert C. 
Waterston, received in December, 1894. The income is to be 
used as a publishing fund, in accordance with the provisions 
of Mr. Waterston 's will printed in the Proceedings (2d series, 
vol. viii. pp. 172, 173). The cost of publishing Volume 
XVIII. of the Second Series of the Proceedings, was charged 
against the income of this fund. 

XV. The Ellis Fund, which originated in a bequest to 
the Society of 130,000, by Dr. George E. Ellis, President from 
1885 to 1894. This sum was paid into the Treasury Dec. 20, 
1895 ; and to it has been added the sum of 81,663.66 received 
from the sale of various articles of personal property, also given 
to the Society by Dr. Ellis, which it was not thought desirable 
to keep, making the whole amount of the fund 131,663.66. No 
part of the original sum can be used for the purchase of other 
real estate in exchange for the real estate specifically devised 
by Dr. Ellis's will. 

Besides the bequest in money, Dr. Ellis by his will gave to 
the Society his dwelling-house No. 110 Marlborough Street, 
with substantially all its contents. In the exercise of the dis- 
cretion which the Society was authorized to use, this house 
was sold for the sum of $25,000, and the proceeds invested in 
the more eligible estate on the corner of the Fenway and 
Boylston Street. The full sum received from the sale was 
entered on the Treasurer's books, to the credit of Ellis 
House, in perpetual memory of Dr. Ellis's gift. 

XVI. The Lowell Fund, which was a bequest of the 
Hon. John Lowell (H. U., Class of 1843), amounting to $3,000, 
received Sept. 13, 1897. There are no restrictions on the uses 
to which the income may be applied. The cost of publishing 
Volume XX. of the Second Series of the Proceedings will 
be charged against the income of this fund. 

XVII. The Waterston Fund, which was received April 
21, 1900, in full satisfaction of a bequest from our associate 
the Rev. Robert C. Waterston. Some legal questions hav- 
ing arisen in connection with this bequest, the matter was 
compromised, and the sum of $5,000 was received, as stated 
in the Proceedings (2d series, vol. xiv. pp. 163, 164). The 
income is to be used for printing a catalogue of the Waterston 
Library, for printing documents from it, and for making addi- 



214 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Apkil, 

tions to the Library from time to time. The catalogue of the 
Library was completed and issued a few weeks ago. 

XVIII. The Waterston Fund No. 2, which was a fur- 
ther bequest of 110,000 from Mr. Waterston, in regard to 
which there were no legal questions, and which was also re- 
ceived April 21, 1900. The income is to be used for " print- 
ing and publishing any important or interesting autograph, 
original manuscripts, letters or documents which may be in 
possession of" the Society. 

Besides the three funds, for the creation of which provision 
was made by Mr. Waterston's will, the Treasurer received, 
under the will, the sum of $10,000, to be applied to the fitting 
up of a room or portion of a fire-proof building for the com- 
modious and safe keeping of the Waterston Collection. A 
room was accordingly set apart for that purpose, and the 
larger part of this sum was expended in making it con- 
venient and attractive. Some further expenditures must be 
made on this account, and any balance of cash remaining 
in the hands of the Treasurer will be used, in accordance with 
the terms of the will, in adding books to the collection, under 
the direction of the Council. 

XIX. The Robert Charles Billings Fund. This was 
a gift of $10,000, received April 16, 1903, from the surviving 
executors of the will of the late Robert Charles Billings. The 
income is to be used only for publications. The cost of pub- 
lishing Volume XIX. of the Second Series of the Proceedings 
was charged against the income of this fund. 

XX. The John Langdon Sibley Fund, which was cre- 
ated under the will of our associate, printed in the Proceedings 
(2d series, vol. ii. pp. 168-170), was received in two instal- 
ments, Aug. 5, 1903, and April 18, 1904. The income must 
be applied in the manner set forth in Mr. Sibley's will. The 
fund now stands on the books at $158,933.11. 

XXI. The Charlotte A. L. Sibley Fund, which was 
created under her will, printed in the Proceedings (2d series, 
vol. xvi. pp. 21-23), was also received in two instalments, 
Aug. 5, 1903, and April 18, 1904. There are no restrictions 
on the uses to which the income may be applied, and it has 
been carried to the credit of the General Account. The fund 
stands at 122,509.48. 

XXII. The Thomas L. Winthrop Fund, which is de- 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 215 

signed to perpetuate the memory of the fourth President of 
the Society. In the early part of 1837 he gave to the Society 
a beautiful copy of Audubon's u Birds of America." Since that 
time other organizations have come into existence which are 
directly interested in the study of natural history, and as the 
volumes were little used in this Library, it was thought best, 
after consultation with the descendants of the donor, to sell 
the volumes and add the proceeds to our permanent funds. 
This was done by the Librarian under the direction of the 
Council, and the sum of $2,000 was received by the Treasurer 
April 9, 1905. For the present the annual income will be 
added to the principal. 

On Dec. 16, 1903, the Treasurer received from the ex- 
ecutors under the will of our associate the late Hon. Mellen 
Chamberlain the sum of $5,520, on account of Judge Cham- 
berlain's bequest to the Society to defray the cost of publishing 
his " History of Chelsea." This bequest has been treated as 
an open account, — all payments for the History have been 
charged to it, and interest credited on unexpended balances 
available for the purpose. The payments to the present time 
amount to $2,259.60. It is expected that on the final settle- 
ment of Judge Chamberlain's estate the Society will receive 
a further sum from the executors of his will. 

The Treasurer also holds a deposit book in the Five Cent 
Savings Bank for $100 and interest, which is applicable to the 
care and preservation of the beautiful model of the Brattle 
Street Church, deposited with us in April, 1877. 

In January, 1905, the Treasurer received from our associate 
Thomas Minns the gift of one of the earliest deposit books 
issued by the " Provident Institution for Savings in the Town 
of Boston," to Miss Maria Antoinette Parker, February 21, 
1821, with a transfer of the balance of principal and interest 
now or hereafter to be represented by it. Whenever the 
interest amounts to $25, it is to be used for the purchase of 
books for the Library ; and the deposit book itself is to be kept 
as an interesting relic of the earlier time. It is worthy of notice 
that a former Treasurer and President of this Society, James 
Savage, was one of the founders and afterward President of 
the Provident Institution, and that the two corporations were 
for a considerable period joint owners of the estate on Tremont 
Street which they jointly occupied. 



216 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

As these two deposit books represent constantly varying 
sums, it has not been thought desirable to include them in 
the General Fund, to which they naturally belong, though 
the income from them is applicable only to prescribed 
uses. 

It should not be forgotten that besides the gifts and bequests 
represented by these funds, which the Treasurer is required to 
take notice of in his Annual Report, numerous gifts have been 
made to the Society from time to time, and expended for the 
purchase of the real estate, or in promoting the objects for 
which the Society was organized. A detailed account of these 
gifts was included in the Annual Report of the Treasurer, 
dated March 31, 1887, printed in the Proceedings (2d series, 
vol. iii. pp. 291-296) ; and in the list of the givers there enu- 
merated will be found the names of many honored associates, 
now living or departed, and of other gentlemen, not members 
of the Society, who were interested in the promotion of histori- 
cal studies. They gave liberally in the day of small things ; 
and to them the Society is largely indebted for its present 
prosperity and usefulness. 

To the benefactors there mentioned must be added Charles 
Francis Adams, President of the Society, who, in the sum- 
mer of 1895, bought a lot of land on the Fenway (3,000 
square feet), with a view of adding it to the lot bought by 
the Society, in case the latter should prove too small. When 
the plans for the new building were drawn, it was found to 
be desirable to make some change in the lines of the Society's 
estate, and the lot bought by the President was conveyed to 
the Society, with a verbal understanding that he should re- 
ceive for it an equal quantity of land on Boylston Street. In 
February, 1901, a portion of unoccupied land on Boylston 
Street (2,622-^ square feet) was sold to indemnify the Presi- 
dent for the land conveyed by him to the Society. The dif- 
ference ($3,000) between the sum paid by the President 
($15,000) and the amount received for the land sold ($12,000) 
was an absolute gift to the Society, and to this difference must 
be added the interest on $15,000 from the date of the original 
purchase up to the date of sale of the Boylston Street land, a 
period of nearly six years. 

The stock and bonds held by the Treasurer as investments 
on account of the above-mentioned funds are as follows : — 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 217 

$14,000 in the five per cent mortgage bonds of the Chicago and 
West Michigan Railroad Co., due 1921 ; 

$1,000 in a five per cent bond of the Chicago and North Michigan 
Railroad Co., due 1931; 

$5,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Rio Grande Western Rail- 
road Co., due 1939; 

$8,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Chicago, Burlington, and 
Quincy Railroad Co., due 1921; 

$3,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Chicago, Burlington, and 
Quincy Railroad Co., due 1922; 

$4,000 in the three and one-half per cent bonds of the Chicago, 
Burlington, and Quincy Railroad Co., due 1949 ; 

$5,000 in the five per cent gold bonds of the Cincinnati, Dayton, 
and Ironton Railroad Co., due 1941 ; 

$14,500 in the four per cent mortgage bonds of the Atchison, 
Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad Co., due 1995 ; 

$9,000 in the adjustment four per cent bonds, due 1995; $2,000 
in the convertible four per cent bonds, due 1995 ; and one hundred and 
fifty-eight shares of the preferred stock of the same corporation ; 

$11,000 in the five per cent collateral trust bonds of the Chicago 
Junction Railways and Union Stock Yards Co., due 1915 ; 

$10,000 in the five per cent bonds of the Oregon Short Line Railroad 
Co., due 1946; 

$10,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Oregon Short Line Railroad 
Co., due 1929; 

$12,000 in the five per cent bonds of the Lewiston-Concord Bridge Co., 
due 1924; 

$6,000 in the four and one half per cent bonds of the Boston and 
Maine Railroad Co., due 1944 ; 

$10,000 in the four per cent bonds of the American Telephone and 
Telegraph Co., due 1929; 

$54,000 in the four per cent joint bonds of the Northern Pacific Rail- 
road Co. and the Great Northern Railroad Co., due 1921 ; 

$12,000 in the convertible five per cent bonds of the Kansas City 
Stock Yards Co., due 1913 ; 

$6,000 in fehe four per cent bonds of the Long Island Railroad Co., 
due 1949; 

$12,000 in the four per cent bonds of the New York Central and 
Hudson River Railroad Co., due 1934 ; 

$8,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Bangor and Aroostook 
Railroad Co., due 1951 ; 

$4,500 in the seven per cent bonds of the Atchison and Nebraska 
Railroad Co., due 1908; 

$22,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Burlington and Missouri 
River Railroad Co. in Nebraska, due 1910; 

28 



218 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

$2,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Detroit, Grand Rapids and 
Western Railroad Co., due 1946; 

$9,000 in the four per cent bonds of the Fitchburg Railroad Co., due 
1927; 

$3,000 in the five per cent bonds of the Kansas City, Clinton and 
Springfield Railroad Co., due 1925; 

$5,000 in the seven per cent bonds of the Kansas City, St. Joseph 
and Council Bluffs Railroad Co., due 1907 ; 

$2,000 in the five per cent bonds of the Lowell, Lawrence and 
Haverhill Street Railway Co., due 1923 ; 

$6,000 in the four per cent bonds of the West End Street Railway 
Co., due 1915 ; 

$25,000 in the six per cent mortgage notes of G. St. L. Abbott, 
Trustee ; 

$6,000 in the six per cent mortgage agreement of C. F. Adams, 
Trustee ; 

Fifty shares in the Merchants' National Bank of Boston ; 

Fifty shares in the State National Bank of Boston ; 

Fifty shares in the National Bank of Commerce of Boston ; 

Fifty shares in the National Union Bank of Boston ; 

Fifty shares in the Second National Bank of Boston ; 

Twenty-five shares in the National Shawmut Bank of Boston ; 

Thirty-five shares in the Boston and Albany Railroad Co.; 

Twenty-five shares in the Old Colony Railroad Co. ; 

Twenty-five shares in the preferred stock of the Fitchburg Rail- 
road Co. ; 

One hundred and fifty shares in the preferred stock of the Chicago 
Junction Railways and Union Stock Yards Co. ; 

Two hundred and fifty shares in the preferred stock of the American 
Smelting and Refining Co. ; 

One hundred and eighty-four shares in the Kansas City Stock 
Yards Co. ; 

Ten shares in the Cincinnati Gas and Electric Co., received in ex- 
change for five shares in the Cincinnati Gas-Light and Coke Co. ; 

Six shares in the Boston Real Estate Trust (of the par value of $1,000); 

Five shares in the State Street Exchange ; and 

Three shares in the Pacific Mills (of the par value of $1,000). 

The net cost of these securities is $424,070.39 ; but their market value 
is much higher. 

The following abstracts and the trial balance show the pres- 
ent condition of the several accounts : — 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 219 



CASH ACCOUNT. 

1905. DEBITS - 

March 31. To balance on hand $2,070.42 

1906. 

March 31. „ receipts as follows : — 

General Account 1,802.89 

Consolidated Income 21,591.68 

Income of Richard Frothingham Fund . 58.80 

23,453.37 

R. C. Winthrop Fund , . 5,000.00 

W. Winthrop Fund 2,000.00 

T. L. Winthrop Fund 2,000.00 

Investments 6,444,73 

$40,968.52 

March 31. To balance brought down $1,820.37 

1906. credits. 
March 31. By payments as follows : — 

Investments $23,341.00 

Income of R. Frothingham Fund . . . 75.52 

Income of E. B. Bigelow Fund .... 235.10 

Income of Savage Fund 184.47 

Income of Waterston Fund . . . . 1,215.29 
Income of Waterston Publishing Fund . 67.90 

Income of J. L. Sibley Fund 2,267.85 

Income of C. A. L. Sibley Fund . . . 124.06 

Income of Appleton Fund 907.14 

Income of Peabody Fund 141.47 

Income of Mass. Historical Trust Fund . 147.92 
Income of R. C. Billings Fund .... 1,541.68 

Income of Lawrence Fund 73.30 

Chamberlain Bequest 912.60 

Consolidated Income ........ 32.67 

Income of Lowell Fund 65.30 

General Account 7,417.88 

— 15,410.15 

Real Estate 397.00 

„ balance on hand 1,820.37 

$40,968.52 



GENERAL ACCOUNT. 
1905. debits. 

March 31. To balance brought forward . $6,594.00 

1906. 
March 31. „ sundry charges and payments : — 

Salaries of Librarian's Assistants . . . 2,698.50 

Services of Janitor 965.00 

Printing and binding 113.45 

Stationery and postage . 72.63 

Carried forward $3,849.58 $6,594.00 



220 



MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. 



[April, 



Brought forward $3,849.58 $6,594.00 

Light . ' 78.24 

Water 73.00 

Coal and wood 606.63 

Miscellaneous expenses ...... 565.02 

Editing publications of the Society . . . 2,000.00 

Repairs 245.41 

— 7,417.88 

„ balance carried forward 1,738.66 

. $15,750.54 

1906. CREDITS. 

March 31. By sundry receipts : — 

Interest . $83.84 

Admission Fees . 150.00 

Assessments 700.00 

Sales of publications 864.65 

Copyright, etc 4.40 

. 1,802.89 

Income of General Fund 2,458.79 

Income of Ellis Fund 1,782.60 

Income of Dowse Fund 562.98 

Income of J. L. Sibley Fund 8,000.00 

Income of C. A. L. Sibley Fund ....... 1,143.28 

$15,750.54 
March 31. By balance brought down $1,738.66 



1906. 



Income of General Fund. 

DEBITS. 



March 31. To amount carried to General Account $2,458.79 



1906 CREDITS. 
March 31. By proportion of consolidated income $2,458.79 



Income of J. L. Sibley Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount transferred to General Account $8,000.00 

„ payments in accordance with the will 2,267.85 

„ amount added to principal of J. L. Sibley Fund . . . 2,205 87 

„ balance carried forward 2,603.37 

$To7077.09 

\, 

1905. CREDITS. 

March 31. By balance brought forward $6,253.81 

1906 

March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 8,823.48 

$15,077.09 

March 31. By balance brought down . $2,603.37 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 221 

Income of C. A. L. Sibley Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount paid for books, etc $124.06 

„ balance carried to General Account 1,143.28 

$1,267.34 

1906. CREDITS. 

March 31. By proportion of consolidated income $1,267.34 

Income of Ellis Fund. 

DEBITS. 

1906. 
March 31. To amount carried to General Account . ...... $1,782.60 

1906. credits. 
March 31. By proportion of consolidated income , . $1,782.60 

Income of E. B. Bigelow Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount paid for books $235.10 

„ balance carried forward 594.66 

$829.76 

1905. • credits. 

March 31. By balance brought forward $717.16 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 112.60 

$829.76 

March 31. By balance brought forward $594.66 

Income of Massachusetts Historical Trust Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount paid for sundries ..'... $147.92 

„ balance carried forward 3,195.03 

$3,342.95 



1905. credits. 

March 31. By balance brought forward $2,779.97 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 562.98 

$3 3 342.95 
March 31. By balance brought forward $3,195.03 



222 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

Income of Peabody Fund. 

1906. DEBITS ' 

March 31. To amount paid for printing and binding $141.47 

„ balance carried forward 2,916.00 

$3,057.47 

1905. CREDITS. 

March 31. By balance brought forward $1,811.98 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 1,245.49 

$3,057.47 

March 31. By balance brought down $2,916.00 

Income of Richard Frothingham Fund. 

1906. DEBITS. 

March 31. To amount paid for printing and binding $75 52 

„ balance carried forward „ 1,904.32 

$1,979.84 

1905. CREDITS - 

March 31. By amount brought forward $1,752.13 

1906. 

March 31. „ copyright received 58.80 

„ proportion of consolidated income 168.91 

SI, 979.84 
March 31. By balance brought down $1,904.32 

Income of Savage Fund. 

1905. DEBITS - 

March 31. To balance brought forward $375.42 

1906. 
March 31. „ amount paid for books 184.47 

$559.89 

March 31. To balance brought forward $222.10 

1906. CREDITS. 

March 31. By proportion of consolidated income $337.79 

„ balance carried forward 222.10 



$559.89 



Income of Dowse Fund. 



1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount transferred to General Account $562.98 

1906. CREDIT8 - 

March 31. By proportion of consolidated income 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 223 

Income of William Winthrop Fund. 

CREDITS. 

1905. 
March 31. By balance brought forward $197.37 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 218.91 

$416.28 
March 31. By amount brought forward $416.28 

Income of Appleton Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount paid for printing " Collections " $907.14 

„ balance carried forward 4,570.46 



$5,477. ( 



1905. CREDIT8 ' 



March 31. By amount brought forward $4,790.59 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 687.01 

$5,477.60 
March 31. By balance brought forward $4,570.46 

Chamberlain Bequest. 

1906. DEBITS - 
March 31. To amount paid for preparation of copy of " History " . $912.60 
„ balance carried forward 3,682.52 

$4,595.12 

CREDITS. 

1905. 
March 31. By balance brought forward $4,435.94 

1906. 
March 31. „ amount of interest added 159.18 

$4,595.12 

March 31. By balance brought down $3,682.52 

Waterston Publishing Fund. 

1906. DBBIT8 ' 
March 31. To amount paid for publishing " Proceedings " . . . . $67.90 
„ balance carried forward 4,603.50 

$4,671.40 



T~ 



224 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

1905. CREDITS. 

March 31. By amount brought forward $4,108.42 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 562.98 

$4,671.40 
March 31. By balance brought down $4,603.50 

Income of Lawrence Fund. 

1906. DEBITS. 

March 31. To amount paid for " Proceedings " $73.30 

„ balance brought forward 381.82 

$455.12 

1905. credits. 

March 31. By amount brought forward $286.21 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 168.91 

$455.12 
March 31. By balance brought down . ■ $381.82 

Income of R. C. Billings Fund. 

1906. DEBITS ' 

March 31. To amount paid for printing "Proceedings" $1,541.68 

„ balance carried forward 136.48 

$1,678.16 

1905. CREDITS. 

March 31. By balance brought forward . $1,115.18 

1906. 
March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income 562.98 

$1,678.16 

March 31. By balance brought down $136.48 

Income of Waterston Fund. 

1906. DEBITS - 

March 31. To amount paid for printing " Catalogue " $1,215.29 

„ balance carried forward 462.39 

$1,677.68 

CREDITS. 

1905. 

March 31. By amount brought forward $1,396.19 

1906. 
'March 31. „ proportion of consolidated income . . . . . . . 281.49 

$1,677.68 
March 31. By balance brought down $462.39 



1906.] REPORT OF THE TREASURER. 225 



TRIAL BALANCE. 

DEBITS. 

Cash $1,820.37 

Investments 424,070.39 

Real Estate 97,990.32 

Income of Savage Fund 222.10 

$524,103.18 

CREDITS. 

Building Account . . $72,990.32 

Ellis House 25,000.00 

Appleton Fund 12,203.00 

Dowse Fund 10,000.00 

Massachusetts Historical Trust Fund 10,000.00 

Peabody Fund 22,123.00 

Savage Fund 6,000.00 

Erastus B. Bigelow Fund 2,000.00 

William Winthrop Fund 5,000.00 

Richard Frothingham Fund 3,000.00 

General Fund 43,277.43 

Anonymous Fund 3,277.44 

William Amory Fund 3,000.00 

Lawrence Fund 3,000.00 

Robert C. Winthrop Fund 10,000.00 

Waterston Publishing Fund 10,000.00 

Ellis Fund 31,663.66 

Lowell Fund 3,000»00 

Waterston Fund 5,000.00 

Waterston Fund No. 2 10,000.00 

Robert Charles Billings Fund 10,000.00 

John Langdon Sibley Fund 158,933.11 

Charlotte A. L. Sibley Fund 22,509.48 

Thomas L. Winthrop Fund 2,112.60 

General Account 1,738.66 

Chamberlain Bequest 3,682.52 

Waterston Library 3,947.14 

Income of Lowell Fund 1,323.38 

Income of Appleton Fund 4,570.46 

Income of William Winthrop Fund 416.28 

Income of Massachusetts Historical Trust Fund 3,195.03 

Income of Richard Frothingham Fund 1,904.32 

Income of William Amory Fund 1,118.51 

Income of E. B. Bigelow Fund 594.66 

Income of Lawrence Fund 381.82 

Income of Robert C. Winthrop Fund 3,063.27 

Income of Waterston Publishing Fund 4,603.50 

Income of Waterston Fund 462.39 

Income of Waterston Fund No. 2 3,355.35 

Income of Robert C. Billings Fund 136.48 

Income of Peabody Fund 2,916.00 

Income of J. L. Sibley Fund 2,603 37 

$524,103.18 

29 



226 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

The income for the year derived from the investments and 

credited to the several funds, in proportion to the amount at 

which they stand on the Treasurer's books, was about five 

and five-eighths per cent. 

Charles C. Smith, 

Treasurer. 
Boston, March 31, 1906. 



Report of the Auditing Committee. 

The undersigned, a Committee appointed to examine the 
accounts of the Treasurer of the Massachusetts Historical 
Society, as made up to March 31, 1906, have attended to that 
duty, and report that they find them correctly kept and prop- 
erly vouched ; that the securities held by the Treasurer for 
the several funds correspond with the statement in his Annual 
Report ; that the balance of cash on hand is satisfactorily 
accounted for; and that the Trial Balance is accurately taken 
from the Ledger. 

Thomas Minns, ( n 

p, T m \ Committee. 

S. Lothrop Thorndike, ( 

Boston, April 9, 1906. 

Mr. Minns added orally that he had made a careful esti- 
mate of the market value of the securities held by the Treas- 
urer, and that it amounted to $475,046, or $50,975.61 more 
than they stand at on the Society's books. 

The Librarian read his Report as follows : — 

Report of the Librarian. 
During the year there have been added to the Library : — 

Books 396 

Pamphlets 1,308 

Unbound volumes of newspapers 10 

Broadsides 45 

Maps 2 

Manuscripts 180 

Bound volumes of manuscripts 43 

In all 1,984 



1906.] REPORT OF THE LIBRARIAN. 227 

Of the volumes added, 335 have been given, 99 bought, and 
5 formed by binding. Of the pamphlets added, 1,114 have 
been given, 188 bought, and 6 procured by exchange. 

From the income of the Savage Fund there have been 
bought 54 volumes, 53 pamphlets, and 4 unbound volumes of 
newspapers. 

From the income of the E. B. Bigelow Fund there have 
been bought 441 single newspapers; and 3 volumes, containing 
356 broadsides, have been bound, all relating to the War of 
the Rebellion. 

From the income of the John Langdon Sibley Fund there 
have been bought 19 volumes, 17 pamphlets, 3 manuscripts, 
2 broadsides, 5 photographs; and 2 volumes of newspaper cut- 
tings have been bound, all relating to Harvard College ; and 
from that of the Charlotte A. L. Sibley Fund 26 volumes, 118 
pamphlets, and 1 manuscript. 

Of the books added to the Rebellion Department 23 volumes 
have been given, and 28 bought ; and of the pamphlets added, 
168 have been given, and 44 bought. There are now in the 
collection, 3,060 volumes, 5,861 pamphlets, 477 broadsides, 
and 110 maps. 

In the collection of manuscripts there are now 1,188 vol- 
umes, 192 unbound volumes, 97 pamphlets with manuscript 
notes, and 14,505 manuscripts. 

The Library contains at the present time 49,247 volumes ; 
and this enumeration includes the files of bound newspapers, 
bound manuscripts, the Dowse Collection, the Waterston Col- 
lection, and the Ellis books. The catalogue of the Waterston 
Collection has been issued; and the Ellis books have been 
added to the aggregate. 

The Winthrop manuscripts, 42 volumes in all, were received 
from Mrs. Robert C. Winthrop, Jr., on December 1, 1905, and 
have been placed in the cabinet given in April, 1899, by Mr. 
Winthrop for their future reception. 

The manuscripts and newspapers from the estate of the late 
Charles E. French have been received, and are still awaiting 
their assortment and examination, which will be made soon. 
The delay has been caused by the necessary changes to be 
made in the rooms overhead and the rearrangement of the 
books, in consequence of the removal of the American Acad- 
emy of Arts and Sciences from the building. 



228 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

The number of pamphlets now in the Library, including 

duplicates, is 108,832, and the number of broadsides, including 

duplicates, is 4,692. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Samuel A. Green, 

Lihrarian. 
April 12, 1906. 

The Report of the Cabinet-Keeper was presented as 
follows: — 

Report of the Cabinet- Keeper. 

During the past year gifts have been received for the 
Cabinet as follows: 

Etchings of Faneuil Hall, Boston, in 1870, and of the Old 
Corner Bookstore, Boston, in 1850, by Sidney L. Smith, being 
the fifth and sixth publications of the Iconographic Society. 
Given by James F. Hunnewell. 

Three photographs of the Harvard Church in Charlestown, 
the exterior taken before the building of the Elevated Rail- 
road ; exterior showing the old spire inside the later one ; and 
the interior of the Church. Given by James F. Hunnewell. 

An engraving of the " Mayflower " by E. G. Farmer, after 
the painting by Marshall Johnson, published by the John A. 
Lowell Company, Boston, 1905. Given by Charles Francis 
Adams. 

An etched portrait of President Charles W. Eliot, by Sidney 
L. Smith, published by the John A. Lowell Company, Boston, 
1905. Given by Sidney L. Smith. 

A Lexington cannon-ball and block, bought at the sale of 
the effects of Hon. Edward Everett, in 1865. A bequest from 
Charles Edward French. 

Six pieces of Confederate money. Given by Joseph Kolsky. 

A souvenir spoon of the Lewis and Clarke Centennial Expo- 
sition in Portland, Oregon, 1905. Given by Thomas Minns. 

A colored photograph of " A Prospect of ye Great Town of 
Boston in New England in America" after an engraving by 
J. Turner, 1744, on the titlepage of the American Magazine of 
that year ; one of three copies made by Edward Walker West, 
and given by him. 

Three framed engravings of the Taking, by Admiral Vernon, 
of Porto Bello in 1739; of the same place in 1739, with a 



1906.] REPORT OF THE CABINET-KEEPER. 229 

description by William Richardson ; and of Chagre in 1740. 
Given by the heirs of William S. Appleton. 

The Centennial Medal, 1804-1904, of the New York His- 
torical Society, bearing in relief, John Pintard, founder, Robert 
Benson, first President, and the old and new buildings. Given 
by Charles Francis Adams. 

Two canes, one made from the keel of the Constitution bear- 
ing the inscription, "Taken from the Keel of the Constitution 
and presented to S. Hinckley by his grandson, J. H. Lyman, 
June 26th, 1833," and the other made from the Kearsarge, 
bearing the inscription, " Kearsarge. J. Laidley to J. H. 
Lyman, Feb. 14th, 1873." Legacy from John Chester Lyman. 

A colored fac-simile reprint of Paul Revere's Boston Mas- 
sacre. Given by Charles W. Burrows. 

A photograph of the last survivor of the old Milldam trees, 
standing on lot No. 595 Beacon Street, taken in October, 1905, 
by Norman Leonard Thorndike Sheehan. Given by Thomas 
William Silloway. 

The Appleton collection of American Coins and Medals, and 
Medals relating to Admiral Edward Vernon, bequeathed to 
this Society by the ninth clause of the will of the late William 
Sumner Appleton, which is as follows : — 

" Ninth : — I give to the Trustees hereinafter named, their heirs and 
assigns, my collection of coins and medals, with the cabinets to contain 
them, and all my books, pamphlets, papers and manuscript matter relat- 
ing to numismatics ; in trust, and for the purpose of sale * that is to 
say, I desire them to offer and to earnestly endeavor to sell, either 
to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, or to the Public Library of 
Boston, or to Harvard University, or to some similar and proper insti- 
tution in the United States, the entire collection as above set forth ; the 
whole is valued by me at about forty thousand dollars, but for the pur- 
pose of sale the collection would, of course, be valued by some expert 
or experts, such as Edward Frossard of New York ; in case of the 
effecting of such sale, then to invest and hold the proceeds in trust ; 
and for such purposes as are set forth in the eleventh clause of this 
will ; but in case my said trustees shall not succeed in effecting such 
sale within the period of two years from the date of probate of this will, 
then my trustees shall transfer and deliver to the Massachusetts Histor- 
ical Society all my coins and medals relating to George Washington, 
Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Admiral Edward 
Vernon, and all my medals relating in any way to the Territory now 
comprised in the United States of America, or to the history thereof, 



230 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

or to any organization therein, or to any citizens thereof, and all my 
coins, pattern-pieces and paper-money struck or printed in or for any 
part of the present United States of America, before the issue of the 
regular coinage of the Mint of the United States in 1793, and all my 
coins and pattern-pieces struck at the Mint of the United States since 
its establishment ; and all the remainder of my collection of coins and 
medals, with the cabinets to contain them, and all my books, pamphlets, 
papers, and manuscript matter relating to numismatics my trustees shall 
sell and dispose of to the best advantage, and shall invest and hold 
the proceeds in trust, and for such purposes as are set forth in the 
eleventh clause of this will." 

The will of Mr. Appleton was duly proved and allowed in 
the Probate Court for the County of Suffolk on May 28th, 
1903, and contains this further provision relating to this 
Society : — 

" Fourteenth : — If by reason of the death of all my children with- 
out issue, my trustees shall be unable to carry out the provisions of the 
eleventh clause of this will, then I hereby direct my trustees to divide 
and distribute all the property in their hands as follows, that is to say : 
... to the Massachusetts Historical Society the sum of fifty thousand 
dollars ; ... if my trustees shall still have in their hands unsold my 
collection of coins and medals, as set forth in the ninth clause of this 
will, then they shall convey and transfer my entire collection of coins 
and medals, with the cabinets to contain them, and all my books, pam- 
phlets, papers and manuscript matter relating to numismatics, to the 
Massachusetts Historical Society." 

The collection is not yet ready for exhibition as it is hoped 
that a suitable place may be given it in one of the rooms 
recently vacated by the American Academy, and that Mr. 
William Sumner Appleton, son of the testator, will kindly 
undertake its arrangement. 

The bequest of Charles Edward French probably includes 
other articles for the Cabinet, but the Committee to examine 
the contents of the boxes containing the French legacies has 
not yet reported. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Grenville H. Norcross, 

Cabinet- Keeper. 
Boston, April 12, 1906. 



1906] ELECTION OF OFFICERS. 231 

In the absence of Mr. Hill, the Report of the Committee to 
examine the Library and Cabinet was read by Mr. Perry as 
follows : — 

Report of the Committee on the Library and Cabinet. 

Your Committee have made an examination of the Library 
and Cabinet. The Librarian, Dr. Green, and Cabinet-Keeper, 
Mr. Nor cross, gave us every assistance we desired in our 
investigation. 

The interesting and valuable collection in the Cabinet ap- 
peared to be arranged in as good a manner as the crowded 
condition of the room devoted thereto would permit. As the 
purpose of such a collection is principally to aid in the study 
of the manners and customs of the past, as an historical study, 
additional room, whenever the Society can furnish it, would 
increase the usefulness of this collection. 

With regard to the Library, we are pleased to find that a 
large portion of the books is being transferred from the large 
room, heretofore furnished principally with wooden shelves, to 
the steel stacks on the third floor, recently vacated by the 
American Academy of Arts and Sciences, thus insuring greater 
protection against possible loss by fire. 

The efficiency of the Waterston Collection has been greatly 
increased by the recent publication of a complete and very 
valuable Catalogue. 

The Library appeared, so far as we could judge, to be in 
excellent working order, and we find that improvements are 
constantly being made, as conditions will permit, to aid the 
student of history in his investigation. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Don Gleason Hill, \ 

Bliss Perry, \ Committee. 

Henry Greenleaf Pearson,] 

Boston, April 7, 1906. 

Mr. Hunnewell, from the Nominating Committee, pre- 
sented the following list of candidates for the ensuing year, 
and the entire list was duly elected by ballot : — 

For President. 
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS. 



232 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

For Vice-Presidents. 
SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN. 
JAMES FORD RHODES. 

For Recording Secretary. 
. EDWARD STANWOOD. 

For Corresponding Secretary, 
HENRY WILLIAMSON HAYNES. 
For Treasurer. 
CHARLES CARD SMITH. 

For Librarian. 
SAMUEL ABBOTT GREEN. 

For Cabinet- Keeper. 
GRENVILLE HOWLAND NORCROSS. 

For Members at Large of the Council. 
THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON. 
ALBERT BUSHNELL HART. 
THOMAS LEONARD LIVER MORE. 
SAMUEL SAVAGE SHAW. 
NATHANIEL PAINE. 

Dr. Green having been elected to two offices, Mr. Charles 
P. Bowditch was on motion of Mr. Hunnewell elected an ad- 
ditional member of the Council, so that that body should 
comprise the usual number of individuals. 

Remarks were also made during the meeting by the Presi- 
dent, the Hon. William Everett, and Mr. T. W. Higginson. 

After the completion of the regular business a recess was 
taken. When the Society reassembled, a number of invited 
guests were present, among them Mrs. William B. Rogers, the 
only surviving child of the late James Savage. A marble bust 
of Mr. Savage, a reproduction of the original, modelled by John 
C. King for the Provident Institution for Savings, and now 
in its possession, was ready to be unveiled ; the gift of Mrs. 
Rogers to the Society. The President then said : — 

Bearing length of existence in mind, — fifteen years more 
than a century, — the list of those who have served this Society 
as its presidents is not long. It numbers eight names only ; 
and the term of service, varying from nine to thirty years, has 
averaged a little less than fifteen. • But so far as connection 
with the Society is concerned, its traditions and its growth, 



J 906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 233 

two among the eight, James Savage and Robert C. Win- 
throp, stand out so pre-eminently that they constitute a class 
by themselves. In the first place, their united occupation 
of the chair covered no less than two-fifths of the Society's 
whole existence; for, beginning in 1841, it extended to 1885. 
Indeed, it just fails to connect us with the founders; for, though 
nearly a third of our present number recall Mr. Winthrop as a 
presiding officer, Thomas Walcut, the last of the original ten, 
had died within the year preceding the first election of Mr. 
Savage. In the next place, those four and forty years were, in 
the history of our Society, very memorable ; they constitute, in 
fact, our golden period. But it was in Mr. Winthrop's time, and 
through his efficient action, that the great change took place. 
Then, in his own language, the Society passed out of what he 
not unfairly described — seeing it had lasted sixty-six years — 
as "a pretty well protracted chrysalis stage, and was permitted 
to display plumage and pinions, which promised a more sus- 
tained and prosperous progress " than could theretofore have 
been anticipated for it. 

The present is the fiftieth annual meeting held since Mr. 
Winthrop indulged in this figure of speech. It was on April 
9, 1857, — that for us memorable occasion when the Society 
formally installed itself in the freshly furnished Dowse Library. 
In our printed volumes of Proceedings there is a record of 
what was then done and said, and to-day that record has a 
peculiar interest. This room is as nearly as possible an exact 
reproduction of the original Dowse Library room in the old 
Tremont Street building, looking out on the King's Chapel 
graveyard, as this looks out on the Fenway. Furniture, 
decoration, and contents are, in the main, the same as those 
then enumerated by Mr. Winthrop, — "the precious volumes" 
which Mr. Dowse "in his lifetime watched over so fondly," — 
the " original sketch of Mr. Everett, by Stuart, and the fine 
marble bust of Sir Walter Scott, by Chantrey, the chosen orna- 
ments of the library" while in the Cambridge home of its col- 
lector; the busts also of Milton and Shakespeare, of Franklin 
and Washington ; while " the speaking portrait of the venerable 
donor himself, procured for the purpose by the order and at the 
expense of the Society, looks benignly down upon these cher- 
ished friends of his youth and his age." And Mr. Winthrop 
then went on to add, " from this apartment which they will 

30 



234 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

henceforth exclusively occupy," these volumes, portraits and 
marbles, "are never in any contingency, which can be antici- 
pated, to be removed." In point of fact, the " never " in this 
case reduced itself to just forty years; for in 1897 wholly 
changed conditions had asserted themselves, and the Society 
sought a new home amid other surroundings. The Dowse 
Library room was, however, in that new home carefully and 
reverently reproduced. In it we are now gathered. 

But while in all essentials the same, the memorials have in 
number been slightly increased ; and increased in a way which 
we can feel assured would, could he have foreseen it, have 
been very gratifying to Mr. Dowse. As he looks down from 
his place at the head of the room, the marble bust of Mr. Win- 
throp stands at his left; while the portrait of Mr. Livermore — 
the faithful executor of his will and the benefactor of this 
Society — is a companion to the Everett. To-day, moreover, 
the place on the right of the Dowse portrait is to be perma- 
nently and fitly filled. 

When, at the close of the business portion of the annual 
meeting of 1857, held in the antechamber of the original 
Dowse Library, the key of the still unopened room was for- 
mally delivered by Mr. Livermore, as executor of the will of 
Mr. Dowse, to Mr. Winthrop, as President of the Society, the 
record tells us that the President " invited Honorable Josiah 
Quincy and Honorable James Savage, the senior members of 
the Society, to marshal the newly elected officers and the mem- 
bers of the Society into the new room." Mr. Quincy had then 
been a member of the Society over sixty years ; and Mr. Sav- 
age, over forty-four years a member, had two years previously, 
in April, 1855, ceased to be President, closing a service in that 
office of fourteen years. That a memorial of him in marble, 
corresponding to that of Mr. Winthrop, should occupy a posi- 
tion of honor in the Dowse Library, has long been the desire 
of the Society. That memorial the love and veneration of his 
sole surviving child has now supplied. The effigy of James 
Savage occupies henceforth its proper place in the room which, 
forty-nine years ago, side by side with President Quincy, he 
was first to enter. 

At this point the bust, a very striking and artistic likeness 
of Mr. Savage, was unveiled. After the applause had sub- 
sided, the President resumed : — 



1906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 235 

Referring again to the period covered by the joint presiden- 
cies of Mr. Savage and Mr. Winthrop, I have said that those 
forty-four years constitute the golden age of our Society ; nor is 
this statement an exaggeration. Historically speaking remark- 
able, those years included the whole series of national adminis- 
trations from John Tyler to Grover Cleveland. They saw the 
rise and culmination of the anti-slavery movement; the crisis 
of the Civil War ; the subsidence of the long reconstruction 
agony. Through those years our Society pursued the tenor of 
its way, — unbroken, if not always even. That they were for 
us a fruitful season our publications witness. During its first 
half century (1791-1841) the Society printed twenty-seven 
volumes of Collections, — practically a volume, not large in 
bulk, in each two years. The succeeding forty-four years 
saw twenty-two volumes of Collections and a like number of 
volumes of Proceedings added to the number, each volume 
containing twice the matter of a volume of earlier publi- 
cation. But it was in the brilliancy of those at this time 
comprising its membership, their fruitfulness and quality that 
the Society was most remarkable. During the earlier period 
there is hardly a name upon the roll now remembered, save 
by the curious, in connection with historical work. During 
the Savage and Winthrop presidencies the record shines : — 
Jared Sparks, George Bancroft, George Ticknor, William 
Hickling Prescott, James Savage, John Gorhani Palfrey, 
Richard Frothingham, John Lothrop Motley, Francis Park- 
man, James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph 
Waldo Emerson, Charles Deane, and Justin Winsor constitute 
a veritable galaxy. I will not stop to enumerate the states- 
men, publicists, divines, poets and essayists also there ; but 
that it was a time of remarkable fecundity in historical litera- 
ture as well as research those names furnish ample evidence. 

Not least prominent among those mentioned, indeed among 
those here best remembered, was James Savage. In his way, 
and in his peculiar province he was foremost. His, more- 
over, was the most striking individuality of them all. Upon 
his somewhat uneventful life, and his long connection with this 
Society, I do not now propose to dwell. Suffice it to say that, 
born in Boston in 1784, in Boston he passed his life ; through 
more than fourscore years he was of Boston ; and in Boston he 
died. Chosen into the Society at the early age of twenty-nine, 



236 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

he served in succession as its librarian, as its treasurer, and as 
its president ; while his contributions to its Proceedings and its 
Collections were so frequent that to specify them would con- 
stitute in itself a bibliography. His membership extended over 
sixty years, being to this day exceeded in length by that of 
President Quincy only ; and now, when an entire generation 
has passed away since his death, I think I may safely assert 
that, with the single exception of Mr. Winthrop, no member of 
the Society since its beginning lias left upon it so deep and in- 
dividual an impression. Of those on our present roll, nine only 
were members at the time of his death, and of these but three 
can recall him in his activity. He is thus a tradition only. 
Retiring from this chair in 1855, at the age of seventy-one, 
through the ten following years he continued to be one of the 
most constant in attendance at the Society's meetings. Punc- 
tual and assiduous, both Mr. Winthrop and Mr. Hillard speak of 
the quick, firm step, and eager, animated and joyous look with 
which he was wont to enter the familiar room, his whole action 
showing that he felt as much pleasure as he imparted. 

Nothing if not individual, Mr. Savage as a presiding officer 
must have been unique. Mr. Hillard says of him that when in 
the chair, " whatever subject was started in the course of discus- 
sion, it called forth from him a ready contribution of the most 
accurate knowledge conveyed in language quaint and original, 
and, from its point and raciness, commanding attention at the 
time and easily remembered." Such a manner of presiding w T as 
indubitably after a fashion Socratic ; and, as Mr. Hillard fur- 
ther observes, would hardly have been fitting except in an 
assembly of moderate size or interested in the same pursuits: 
but we are assured, " hardly any meeting of the Society oc- 
curred during his presidency without something falling from 
his lips worthy of preservation, either from its substance or 
form." And to the same effect Dr. Alexander Young, 
himself a thorough antiquary and exact scholar, told Charles 
Deane that " he always gathered up Mr. Savage's odd sayings of 
wit and wisdom as they fell from his lips," and he everlastingly 
"regretted that there was no Boswell to collect and preserve 
these Savageana in a permanent form." His manner of pre- 
siding was thus altogether peculiar to Mr. Savage, and charac- 
teristic of the man ; but in him " it was so natural, so true an 
expression of the better part of his nature, that no one was 



1906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 237 

ever disposed to criticise it or to wish it other than it was." In 
short, he regarded the president's chair as a large oppor- 
tunity to discourse upon subjects of which his mind was full ; 
but, on the other haud, his conversation was so spontaneous 
and unstudied that the Society was always glad to listen 
to him. 

As a writer and historical investigator, we have the high 
authority of Charles Deane — and there can be none higher, — 
for resting assured that Mr. Savage will be remembered as the 
New England antiquary par excellence, —past master of the 
guild. To the antiquary it belongs to gather up the small 
facts of history, the fragments of truth, to be a gleaner in the 
by-ways of the past ; and, for all this, Mr. Savage had a 
peculiar faculty. With a persistency and enthusiasm not to 
be surpassed he would pursue his inquiry into the smallest in- 
cidents of history ; but to him they were not small, for they 
had their place and their relations. Not infrequently this 
mental habit would bring Mr. Savage into collision with some 
other person of equally individual attributes, perhaps dis- 
similar. The consequences were at times disastrous ; at times 
not without an element of humor. Of the latter, I find an in- 
stance in the diary of J. Q. Adams. Mr. Savage was strong on 
the subject of the revised calendar, the " Old and New Style." 
He made an elaborate study of it ; and, as a natural conse- 
quence, was continually unsettling the dates of our New Eng- 
land anniversaries. In 1843 Mr. Adams undertook to deliver 
an address before this Society on the second centennial of the 
New England Confederacy ; and as the anniversary drew near 
a correct date for its observance naturally had to be assigned. 
Mr. Savage went to see Mr. Adams on the subject. What 
follows Mr. Adams characteristically recorded : — u Mr. Savage 
called, and I had a long conversation with him ; chiefly upon 
questions fit only to make a learned body ludicrous, — that is 
on the day of the ceremony. ... I told Mr. Savage that as 
the nineteenth of May of Old Style of the present year is the 
thirty-first of the New Style, I thought they should take the 
thirty-first for the celebration. But he and Judge Davis had 
settled the point between themselves on principle. He argued 
it with me, astronomically and politically, with such lucid illus- 
tration that I lost the thread of his syllogism, and finally did 
not understand him at all." So the anniversary was observed 



238 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

on the twenty-ninth, and not on the thirty-first. Having thus 
upset one accepted historical tradition in 1843, six years later, in 
1849, Mr. Savage upset still another of the same sort, remand- 
ing Fore-Fathers' Day from the twenty-second of December 
to the twenty-first. 

The two literary monuments left by Mr. Savage, the great 
ear-marks by which he will be remembered, are the Genealogi- 
cal Dictionary and the notes to his 1853 edition of Winthrop's 
Journal. These will endure ; not, indeed, as contributions to 
literature, either amusing or instructive, for that they assuredly 
are not, but as memorials of iron industry, learning, and faith- 
fulness to purpose. As Mr. Hillard very frankly admits the 
Genealogical Dictionary possesses " no element of general inter- 
est." To a reader in search of amusement, " it is the driest of 
dry bones, duller than the muster roll of an army," or Homer's 
catalogue of the ships ; but even in the arid waste of those 
cumbrous volumes, Mr. Savage's peculiarities of mind and 
temperament from time to time crop out refreshingly. This 
is especially the case when careless inaccuracies of former 
chroniclers are exposed, or, with great freshness of speech, 
hatred of intolerance and bigotry is expressed. As to the 
notes to Winthrop's Journal, Dr = Young once told Charles 
Deane that he was accustomed to read them over and over 
again apart from the text. The information he there gleaned 
expressed in the quaint and inverted style of the man gave 
him keen enjoyment ; and, in like manner, Mr. Hillard says 
of those notes that they " form a mine of curious and accurate 
learning, shrewd remark and quaint illustration, conveyed in a 
style tinged with a certain grave pleasantry very characteristic 
of the writer. Indeed they make by themselves a collection 
which may be read with pleasure and profit." But the value 
of the notes to Winthrop's Journal lies quite as much in their 
individuality of thought and expression as in their learning ; 
and while in future editions of the Journal, they will unques- 
tionably in greatest part disappear, — for, like his manner of 
presiding, Mr. Savage's editorial utterances " would not serve 
as a model for imitation," — yet it is safe to predict that no 
matter how many future editions of Winthrop, more scientific 
or even more scholarly, may be forthcoming, copies of Savage's 
edition of 1853 will always be eagerly sought and command a 
high price. As a curiosity of literature it will endure. 



1906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 239 

But in this respect Mr. Savage understood himself and ac- 
cepted his own limitations. He made no claim to literary 
distinction. At times, he wrote, " letters have engaged my at- 
tention ; but most of what I have written may as well 
be permitted to pass by uninterrupted course to oblivion. 
Strangers could hardly express esteem for fugitive papers, 
when no fondness toward them is felt by the author." 

Referring to some letters written by Mr. Savage in his 
younger days Mr. Hillard observes that, " the influence of Dr. 
Johnson was at that time (1800-1806) all pervading, and evi- 
dence of it appears in this correspondence." But the same 
influence is apparent all through the writings of Mr. Savage, 
— it comes like a distinct echo of Rasselas. Take, for instance, 
the following, from the preface to the fourth, and final, volume 
of the " Dictionary," — is it Savage or Johnson who speaks ? — 
" The task that near twenty years since was assumed by me is 
now ended ; and no regret is felt for the time devoted to it. 
Pleasure and duty have been equally combined. . . . By the 
majority who, in careless hours may turn over these columns, 
the scrupulous diligence of the printer will justly be more ob- 
served than the research of the author, who should feel suffi- 
ciently rewarded, if his countrymen acknowledge they have 
no further claim to use of his pen after the owner's reaching so 
near the age of four-score. Still, my rejoicing should be rather 
that my service is finished, than that I have no more to do." 

The fact is that Mr. Savage was throughout distinctly 
Johnsonesque. In him it was not a case of either influence or 
imitation ; he partook of the nature of the great English lexi- 
cographer. The similarity cropped out in unexpected ways. 
For instance, we are all familiar with Dr. Johnson's preference 
of Fleet Street and Charing Cross to the loveliest rural view 
in existence. So, Mr. Hillard tells us, James Savage " de- 
lighted like Charles Lamb ' in the sweet security of streets.' 
He had no rural tastes which were not satisfied by the Boston 
Common and Boston suburbs. He had no longings for either 
the mountains or the sea." Old Temple Place, before it was 
cut through as a thoroughfare to Washington Street, was to 
him what Bolt Court was to his English prototype. Not till 
he was over sixty-two was a taste for the country developed 
in him. But then, it is pleasant to know that the summer 
home, set on a hill in Lunenburg, opened to him a new and 



240 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

undreamed of existence. Commanding a rich and boundless 
New England landscape, the shows of earth and sky, Mr. 
Hillard assures us, there fell upon his spirit like a benedic- 
tion. 

Personally I do not remember ever to have seen Mr. 
Savage. . He ceased to be president of the Society in 1855, 
the year before I graduated from Harvard, and his attend- 
ance at its meetings fell away ten years later during that Civil 
War period when I was absent from Boston. I never, there- 
fore, to my knowledge, laid eyes upon him ; but, later, anec- 
dotes of him in his connection with the Society came to me 
from Mr. Winthrop, from Dr. Ellis, and, most of all, from 
Charles Deane. The impression left on those, his associates, 
by him was that of a man of great mark of the peculiar New 
England type. With high standards, moral and intellectual, 
robust in body as in mind, he had a hot temper, great courage, 
a strong will, and an incisive utterance. While a fast and true 
friend, he was also, according to Charles Deane, what Dr. 
Johnson called, u a good hater." His dislikes were as intense 
as his likes ; nor was he chary in the expression of either. 
Thackeray, with his inborn instinct for character, singled him 
out at one meeting, and long afterwards referred to him as 
" that quaint, charming old Mr. Savage"; and in his occasional 
scintillations, coruscations and explosions, Mr. Winthrop 
found in him quite a resemblance to Walter Savage Landor, 
as the middle name indicates, remotely akin. Thus, taken alto- 
gether, Mr. Savage was one of the most attractive as well as 
one of the most noticeable Boston characters of his day ; while 
the profound personal respect inspired by his earnestness, his 
individuality, and his sincere, lofty character combined with 
his kindly, companionable disposition, greatly enhanced both 
generally and among those brought in closer contact with him, 
the weight of those opinions to which he was wont to give 
such outspoken, and even explosive, utterance. 

I have referred to him as a " good hater" in the Johnsonese 
sense of the phrase ; and the objects of his special dislike and 
contempt were many, from Cotton Mather and John Hancock 
to those then living. So far indeed did he carry his feelings, 
or his feelings carry him, that his antipathies became, among his 
contemporaries and associates, matter of kindly jest ; but, none 
the less, his sturdy ebullitions, irrespective of place, and not 



1906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 241 

unaccompanied with expletives, constituted one of the charms 
of his character. Indeed, when occasion called, he followed 
explicitly Hotspur's advice, and left 

..." in ' sooth/ 
And such protest of pepper-gingerbread, 
To velvet-guards, and Sunday-citizens," 

while he gave vent to " a good mouth-filling oath." 

Many anecdotes bearing on this characteristic lingered about 
the original Dowse Library. Charles Deane, for instance, was 
wont to tell, how once, at a late hour in the evening, he was re- 
turning from some entertainment in company with Mr. Savage, 
when the latter suddenly stopped before the old John Hancock 
house, then still overlooking Beacon Street, and, with mina- 
tory gestures expressive of hatred and contempt, proceeded to 
wake the echoes of night by objurgating the former owner of 
the mansion through forms of speech quite unconventionally 
profane. 

There is another equally characteristic anecdote of Mr. 
Savage, and immediately connected with this Society, recorded 
by our associate, the late Octavius B. Frothingham in his vol- 
ume entitled Boston Unitarianism. He had it from my pre- 
decessor in this chair, the late Dr. Ellis, who was a witness 
to the scene: — "It was one of the darkest episodes of the 
Civil War. Defeat had followed defeat. The credit of the 
government was sinking. Conflict with England seemed im- 
minent. An informal conversation on the situation went round 
the circle ; Mr. R. joined in and criticised the proceedings at 
Washington, uttering sentiments that jarred on the ears of 
loyalists. One of the members [Mr. Savage], an old man [he 
was then in his eightieth year], influential and honored, who 
had lost a son in battle, bore it as long as he could, chafing and 
fretting in his chair; but at length, unable to sit any longer, 
got up and faced the offender, shook his clenched fist at him, 
and ejaculated, ' Then ' [in the event of Northern overthrow 
and bankruptcy] ' we will all go to hell together ! ' " 

In this incident there was an element of pathos ; but another, 
in which Rufus Choate figured, was wholly humorous. It 
comes to us on the authority of Mr. Hillard, and occurred at a 
preliminary hearing in certain legal proceedings involving the 
use for secular purposes of the old Charming meeting-house 



242 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [April, 

site in Federal Street, the edifice in which Mr. Savage officiated 
as deacon until it was taken down, as he afterwards did in the 
new building in Arlington Street, until old age incapacitated 
him from longer passing the contribution plate. Mr. Choate 
was of counsel ; Mr. Savage had been called to give evidence. 
His examination concluded, Mr. Choate, representing the other 
side, was asked if he wished to cross-examine the witness. Mr. 
Choate, it will be remembered, was also a member of this So- 
ciety. As counsel, he suavely replied that he had no questions 
to put to Mr. Savage ; and then, as member of the Historical 
Society, he added in a stage whisper to the associate counsel, 
— " Now I have him under oath I have a mind to ask him why 
he hates Cotton Mather so ! " 

But in the excellent — and excellent because most sym- 
pathetic — Memoir prepared for this Society, his old friend 
and associate, George S. Hillard, tells us why Mr. Savage so 
disliked and denounced both Cotton Mather and John Han- 
cock ; also the Reverend Thomas Welde, the Reverend John 
Wilson, the Honorable Richard Bellingham, and other early 
Puritan worthies. Mr. Savage was no less remarkable for his 
love of strict accuracy than for his love of truth. This quality 
in him hardly stopped short of fanaticism. Cotton Mather he 
thought a sham ; he regarded him as weak and credulous, and 
worse ; and his historical statements we're not to be trusted. 
Hating him, as Charles Deane expresses it, " with a deadly 
hatred," he positively resented the old divine's habit of care- 
lessness and inaccuracy, as evidenced in rashness of historical 
statement, roundly declaring that " he seldom touched any 
thing that he did not confound." As to the witchcraft craze, 
and Mather's participation in it, its trials and its executions, 
Mr. Savage reprobated it not as an unhappy delusion but as 
a moral delinquency. He emphasizes the fact that Mather 
was present at the hanging of the Rev. George Burroughs, en- 
deavoring from his place on horseback " to convince the people 
that no wrong had been done " ; but when, a month later, 
Giles Cory was pressed to death for standing mute under in- 
dictment, while admitting Mather's absence at " this triumph 
over the devil," Mr. Savage charitably adds " had the sheriff 
invited his aid, perhaps he would have declined the advantage." 
He finally dismisses his historical bete noire with pointed allusion 
to his " pious malignity," his " studied looseness of language," 



1906.] ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT. 243 

" the darkness of [his] ingratitude, and the equally loathsome 
and ludicrous cowardice of [his] calumny." 

As to Governor Bellingham, that worthy together with two 
others traditionally classed among the venerated fathers of 
Massachusetts, is thus disposed of in one sweeping condemna- 
tion : — "It is gratifying to me to remark that the unbroken 
reign of dismal bigotry from 1649 to 1672 inclusive under 
Dudley, Endicot and Bellingham, — hard, harder, hardest, — 
between the mild wisdom of Winthrop and the tolerant 
dignity of Leverett, came to its end with the last of the 
triumvirs." 

Yet with all the intensity of his feeling there was in Mr. 
Savage a conspicuous absence of any element of malignity. 
He was wholly honest and above-board in his denunciations ; 
quite free from what he himself most happily described as 
" the exquisite rancor of theological hate." But, in his eyes, 
the writer guilty of carelessness or falsehood, when he had 
the means of getting at the truth, was little better than a pick- 
pocket. This habit of thought and expression was again 
most amusingly illustrated in the treatment of the Reverend 
Thomas Welde. Mr. Savage actually pilloried the unfor- 
tunate, even if unamiable, divine, and that, too, through a 
study of typography and an interpretation of bibliographic 
facts which on subsequent investigation proved to be wholly 
mistaken. One after the other, Thornton, Drake, Palfrey and 
Felt discredited the conclusions of the " learned editor of 
Winthrop," and, finally, his personal friend and genuine ad- 
mirer, Charles Deane, corresponded with Mr. Savage, endeav- 
oring to convince him of his error, — clearly pointing out that, 
if any culprit there was, Governor Winthrop was he, and it 
was not Thomas Welde but John Winthrop, the " learned 
editor " was in fact, vilifying and belaboring. The well-meant 
effort was merely so much oil poured on the fire of the anti- 
quarian's wrath. John Winthrop he reverenced ; Thomas 
Welde he despised. So John Winthrop's manifest writing he 
continued to attribute to Thomas Welde; who, because of it, 
became a " virulent pamphleteer," and an " over-cunning wri- 
ter," who had recourse to a "sneaking device," and an "ex- 
traordinary instance of bibliographical disingenuity " to serve 
as "a shield of his own cowardice," thus affording him (Mr. 
Savage) the " gratification " of " disclosing the shameless 



244 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Apr. 1906. 

infirmity or petty malice of the ecclesiastical historian." To 
an elaborate exposition of which no less than twelve printed 
pages of the Genealogical Dictionary are devoted. 

As to John Hancock, in Mr. Savage's eyes all the short- 
comings and the excesses, the fallacies, misrepresentations 
and falsehoods of the opposition to Washington were in him 
personified. Thus, as Mr. Hillard says, it was not in Mr. 
Savage to believe coldly or tamely. All of his opinions partook 
of the warmth and the vehemence of his temperament. His 
mind had no neutral tints ; whatever he believed, he believed 
with a sort of hate and passion. His energy of feeling was 
consequently not proportioned to the importance of the sub- 
ject ; nor did it make any difference whether the offender was 
then and there present in person, or had been for centuries 
sleeping in his grave. 

But, like his great London prototype of the previous cen- 
tury, Mr. Savage was above all a distinct, well-defined indi- 
viduality. As Charles Deane impressively said, standing as 
it were by his freshly closed grave : " It is absolutely refresh- 
ing in a community like ours, where few dare to have an 
opinion before they know what the public think, to see a man 
form his own independent judgment and stand by it. There 
is a great invisible tyrant stalking about the community we 
call 'public opinion,' which everybody fears and nobody 
dares encounter, which lays down its inexorable laws and puts 
its ban on all who resist them. ... A man who forms his judg- 
ment in the clear white light of truth, irrespective of lower 
considerations, which unfortunately bias most minds, stands 
out before his fellows as a marked man, and by way of con- 
trast challenges respect. He is a tower of strength to the 
weak and shuffling creatures who dare not call their souls 
their own. Such a man was Mr. Savage." 

After the adjournment those present, members and invited 
guests, lunched together in the Ellis Hall by invitation of the 
President. 



1906. J PROPOSED CHANGES IN THE OLD STATE HOUSE. 245 



MAY MEETING, 1906. 

The stated meeting was held on Thursday, the 10th instant, 
at three o'clock, p. M. ; the President in the chair. The rec- 
ord of the Annual Meeting was read and approved ; and 
the Librarian and Cabinet-Keeper submitted their monthly 
reports. The Librarian said that the Cabinet which he was 
authorized to procure for the safe keeping of the Sibley Papers 
had been completed in a satisfactory manner and put in place 
since the last meeting. 

The Treasurer said that under the provisions of Mr. Sears's 
Declaration of Trust it would be necessary for the Society to 
pass a vote with reference to the income of the Massachusetts 
Historical Trust Fund ; and on his motion, it was 

Voted, That the income of the Massachusetts Historical Trust 
Fund for the last financial year be retained in the Treasury, to 
be applied to such purposes as the Council may direct. 

Messrs. Edward Stan wood, Alexander McKenzie,and Charles 
C. Smith were appointed a Committee to publish the Proceed- 
ings for the current year. 

Messrs. Thornton K. Lothrop, S. Lothrop Thorndike, and 
Charles C. Smith were appointed a House Committee. 

The President announced the death of two Corresponding 
Members, Richard Garnett, LL.D., who died in London, April 
13, and M. Gustave Vapereau, who died in Paris April 18. 

Mr. Brooks Adams called attention to the proposed changes 
in the western end of the Old State House in connection with 
the Washington Street subway now in process of construction, 
and to the desirability of an expression of opinion by the 
Society as to its preservation, with the least possible injury to 
any part of the building, as an historical monument of great 
interest. After a brief discussion in which the President, 
and Messrs. Andrew McFarland Davis, James F. Hunne- 
well, and Thomas W. Higginson took part, Messrs. Samuel 



246 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

A. Green, Brooks Adams, and Edwin D. Mead were appointed 
a Committee to represent the Society in the matter. 

Hon. Samuel A. Green, a delegate from the Society to 
the recent commemoration at Philadelphia, submitted the 
following report : — 

Since the last meeting I have attended as a delegate from 
this Society the Celebration of the Two Hundredth Adver- 
sary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, which was held in 
Philadelphia on April 17, 18, 19, and 20, under the auspices 
of the American Philosophical Society, founded by Franklin, 
and the oldest scientific body in the country. The exer- 
cises continued for four days, were highly instructive to the 
visiting delegates and others, and were fraught with great 
interest. When preliminary arrangements were made, the 
exact date of his birth (January 17) was not included in the 
period of commemoration, owing to the possible inclemency of 
the weather at midwinter, but the time selected included the 
anniversary week of his death. As it happened, the con- 
ditions could not have been more favorable or propitious than 
they were. Delegates were present from the four quarters 
of the globe ; and during the celebration messages of con- 
gratulation were received by cable from various scientific 
associations in foreign countries. 

The exercises of the first day (Tuesday) began in the even- 
ing, when an historical address was made by the President of 
the Philosophical Society, Professor Smith ; and a reception 
was given to delegates who represented scientific societies 
and institutions of learning throughout the civilized world. 

The exercises of the second day (Wednesday) were held at 
different sessions in the Hall of the Society, in Independence 
Square, and consisted of the reading of papers on various 
subjects of science. At this meeting the news of the earth- 
quake at San Francisco was announced, with its awful accom- 
paniments, and created the deepest sensation. In the evening 
there were addresses elsewhere. 

Among the exercises of the third day (Thursday) were 
ceremonies at the grave of Franklin ; and on the last day 
addresses were made on Franklin as Citizen and Philanthro- 
pist, by Horace Howard Furness (H. C. 1854) ; as Printer and 
Philosopher, by Charles William Eliot (H. C. 1853) ; and as 



1906.] THE EMANCIPATION CONCERT IN MUSIC HALL. 247 

Statesman and Diplomatist, by Joseph Hodges Choate (H. C. 
1852). These three addresses were the only ones on the 
career of the great philosopher ; and I could not help but 
notice that they all were by men of Massachusetts origin, like 
Franklin himself, and that they all for several years were 
students in Harvard College at the same time. 

I ought to add that a grand banquet took place in the even- 
ing at the end of the celebration, and that the delicacies of the 
bill of fare were among the least attractive features of the 
entertainment, where toasts and speeches held sway. 

In this brief report I have noted by no means all the impor- 
tant incidents that happened during the four days of festivity, 
but only those that left an impression on my mind, The pro- 
ceedings of the affair, from beginning to end, were well 
worthy of the subject, and were conducted in excellent taste ; 
and everything passed off successfully. 

Mr. Henry G. Pearson, having been called on, read the 
following paper: — 

The Emancipation Concert in Music Hall on January First, 1863. 

Many as were the forms of rejoicing in the North on Janu- 
ary 1, 1863, over the accomplishment of negro emancipation, 
the means of commemorating the day in Boston had the note 
of distinction that is proper to the city. Nowhere else in 
America could musicians have been brought together to ren- 
der, and an audience been assembled to enjoy, a concert of such 
high musical excellence as that then given in Music Hall. Its 
character as a festival of rejoicing was intensely local, Bosto- 
nian to the last degree ; but it was more than that. Provincial- 
ism which stands for the exclusive cultivation of excellence is 
the truest cosmopolitanism. So this concert, celebrating an 
eternal principle of humanity in the eternal language of art, 
is not a mere instance but a type ; is lifted from the region of 
the particular into the realm of the universal. 

The special cultivation of music in Boston fifty or sixty 
years ago has left many records. The old Music Hall still 
stands, the bronze statue of Beethoven which looked down 
upon the audience from the platform has found a place in the 
new building of the. Conservatory of Music, the great organ is 
something more than a mere memory. Part of the record is 



248 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

in the names of men, — Otto Dresel, Carl Zerrahn. Thanks 
to such influences it became the accepted doctrine in Boston 
that music, above all, the music of Beethoven, is one of the 
great realities of the soul. Traces of this belief have de- 
scended to us and have been kept alive among us by the con- 
viction of mind and heart which has maintained the Boston 
Symphony Orchestra, which has used it to celebrate a stately 
birthday, to commemorate a noble life, as in the memorial 
concerts given from time to time, and which has caused to be 
set above the orchestra in its new house of sounds the one 
word, Beethoven. Of course the cult was not widespread, — 
or, rather, fashion took it up and then dropped it, — but the 
devotion to it of those who stood for whatever was best as- 
sured it a high place in local esteem. 

A plan, therefore, to hail the day of emancipation by a con- 
cert in which orchestra, chorus, and soloists should interpret 
joy and freedom by means of music could bring its own recom- 
mendation to those whose support was necessary to make the 
realization successful. To the typical Bostonian — I avoid 
using Dr. Holmes's word — it was altogether right and proper 
so to do. The plan originated in the ingenious mind of James 
M. Barnard, the philanthropist. Inspired with the thought 
when he first read Lincoln's preliminary proclamation in Sep- 
tember, he had opened the subject to John S. Dwight, whose 
enthusiasm and knowledge of musical ways and means deter- 
mined the form of the concert. An honorary committee of 
arrangements was brought together, among its members being 
Emerson, Longfellow, Whittier, Dr. Holmes, Edward Everett 
Hale,' James T. Fields, and F. H. Underwood. Mr. B. J. 
Lang undertook the work of drilling the chorus, Carl Zerrahn 
was to conduct the band of musicians which gave orchestral 
concerts in Boston, Otto Dresel promised to write music for 
Dr. Holmes's " Army Hymn," and to play the solo part in a 
Beethoven pianoforte concerto. 

In the selection of the numbers for the programme Dwight's 
sure instinct and exacting taste were seen. " Patriotic con- 
certs," so called, with their lusty strains, were familiar 
throughout the North ; but this was not a time for " war 
songs" and "national airs." "The 'Hail Columbias ' and 
' John Browns,' " wrote Dwight, u are all well enough in their 
way and in their proper places ; but they have no right in an 



— ■ 



1906.] THE EMANCIPATION CONCERT IN MUSIC HALL. 249 

artistic programme, any more than cabbages and turnips in a 
bouquet of flowers. They will be all in all, or nothing ; so 
will art." Accordingly, the programme was thoroughgoing. 
" Every piece in it," lie explained, " is good music, in the 
highest sense of Art; yet every piece was sure (as it then 
proved) to interest an earnest miscellaneous audience, how- 
ever large, and make its poetic adaptation to the occasion 
felt." Besides three great orchestral works of Beethoven — 
an overture, a concerto, and the Fifth Symphony — there were 
a long selection from Mendelssohn's " Hymn of Praise," a chorus 
from " Elijah," the " Hallelujah Chorus" from the " Messiah," 
the number by Dresel, and the overture to " William Tell." In 
point of length the concert-goer of to-day would be somewhat 
appalled by such a programme ; in the matter of quality there 
is nothing that he would not take quite as a matter of course. 

The practical arrangements for the concert presented not a 
few points of difficulty. When the plan was at last under 
way, the time was short, and the engagements of musicians 
were many. The orchestra, in particular, was to play on 
New Year's eve at a ball in Springfield. To the credit of 
the town there was more than one choral society ; by the 
same token there was jealousy. Accordingly, the members of 
the chorus had to be obtained by personal invitation and per- 
suasion, and the body formed was not homogeneous, wonted to 
itself. Worst of all, the most difficult piece on the programme 
had to be risked without a rehearsal of orchestra and chorus 
together. In spite of zeal on the part of leaders and rank and 
file, it was felt by everybody that if haply the concert should 
succeed it would be by faith and enthusiasm only, by the pure 
inspiration of the hour. 

New Year's eve was a night of wild storm, but the fear that 
the orchestra might be blocked on the road to Boston vanished 
when day brought clear sunshine and a brilliant sky. Of a 
large audience there had never been any doubt, and the num- 
bers who thronged to Music Hall early in the afternoon were 
a curious mingling of diverse elements in the life of the town, 
— abolitionists and musical amateurs, radicals and conserva- 
tives, — all brought together by the joint appeal of art and 
liberty. 

Gladly as they came, however, and eagerly as they waited 
the revelation of the music, their rejoicing for the negro and 

32 



250 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

his freedom was as yet only the rejoicing of hope. It was 
three o'clock on the afternoon of the first of January, but the 
President's proclamation of Emancipation had not been issued. 
In those days journalism when it had nothing to say practised 
the reserve of brevity rather than used verbiage, and the 
morning papers had contained nothing more than a two-line 
announcement that the proclamation would not be ready till 
the next day. Historically speaking, this delay of a few hours 
is insignificant ; emotionally, with that tense audience, it 
counted for much. They were met together to celebrate not 
the promise, but the deed. The deed was still wanting, and 
doubt and depression could have their way unhampered. To 
a city whose aristocratic instincts had been gratified by leaders 
like Daniel Webster and later Charles Sumner, — ■ both men of 
magniloquent protestations, — the homely democratic fashion 
of Lincoln — "-pegging away," in his own expressive phrase 
— seemed the outward sign of a mere hand-to-mouth politician. 
Such a man the people of Boston had not yet learned to trust. 
Here again, historically speaking, the doubt of the President's 
pledged word is absurd ; emotionally, its effect could not be 
disregarded. " As I walked about this morning," wrote one 
sensitive lady in Boston, from whose record of the celebration 
1 shall quote frequently, " I listened every moment to hear the 
newsboys cry the Proclamation ; and as hour after hour passed 
and nothing came, the feeling of disappointment was very 
keen." 

This audience, swayed by the blended sensations of expect- 
ancy, doubt, and joy, now heard the rap of the conductor's 
baton for attention. Announcement was made that Ralph 
Waldo Emerson would read by way of prologue a poem in- 
spired by the day. More than once had D wight urged upon 
Emerson the committee's request, but so uncertain had the 
poet been of his power to meet this supreme exigency that he 
had refused to allow his name to be put upon the programme. 
Inspiration, it seemed, was denied him; as he wrote to 
Dwight, the poem was impossible without a good night's sleep, 
which lately he had sought in vain. But at the eleventh 
hour the boon was granted, and he came to the hall fresh from 
the presence of his muse. " He was perfectly calm till he 
came forward," says the writer of the journal which I have 
already quoted, " and then his awkward, ungainly form trem- 



1906.] THE EMANCIPATION CONCERT IN MUSIC HALL. 251 

bled from head to foot with irrepressible excitement, and his 
eyes flashed with the true fervor of a poet. His poem was 
written upon different scraps of blue and white paper, and he 
kept them in place by placing a book over the edge of them 
on a music stand ; but whenever he took them to turn one 
over, his hands could scarcely hold the sheet, and at all other 
times he kept them tightly clenched by his side, or moved 
them in nervous, strangely animated gestures. He seemed 
like the Pythian priestess, animated with the sacred fire." 
Indeed, the solemnity of an oracular utterance must have 
thrilled in the words : — 



And again : 



God said, I am tired of kings, 
I suffer them no more." 



" To-day unbind the captive, 
So only are ye unbound ; 
Lift up a people from the dust, 
Trump of their rescue, sound ! 



" Pay ransom to the owner 
And fill his bag to the brim. 
Who is the owner ? The slave is the owner, 
And ever was. Pay him." 

The music began. The overture to " Egmont," with its mar- 
tial suggestions from trumpet, drum, and fife, was adequate for 
its place. Then came the number on which was staked every- 
thing. In Mendelssohn's " Hymn of Praise " occurs a dramatic 
setting of the passage from Isaiah beginning, " Watchman, 
what of the night ? " First a tenor voice sings a set aria to 
the words: "The sorrows of death had closed all around me, 
and hell's dark terrors had got hold upon me, with trouble 
and deep heaviness. But said the Lord, Come, arise from the 
dead, and awake thou that sleepest, I bring thee salvation." 
Then follows a recitative, the voice flinging out its phrases 
above the tense tremolo of the strings. " Watchman, will the 
night soon pass ? The watchman only said : Though the 
morning will come, the night will come also. Ask ye, inquire 
ye, ask if ye will, inquire ye, return again, ask: Watchman, 
will the night soon pass?" Three times the cry to the watch- 
man is uttered, each repetition rising in pitch and in intensity. 
Between the calls the wood-wind utters anxious, penetrating 



9A9 



ZOZ MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

cries. At the end the voice stands out alone, and when the 
last tone of the agonized inquiry ceases, there is silence. 
Heart-beats tell the length of it, while the audience waits and 
waits for the reply that must come : — 

" Why else was the pause prolonged but that singing might issue thence V " 

At last a single soprano voice, unaccompanied, mounting on 
the tones of the major chord, and dwelling on one high note, 
brings the answer. " The night is departing, departing." The 
full orchestra comes crashing in, and the chorus, taking up 
the melody and the words, sings jubilantly, u The night is 
departing, the day is approaching ; therefore let us cast off the 
works of darkness, and let us gird on the armor of light. The 
night is departing." Never could music be more precisely 
adapted to the event. u That moment," is written in the 
journal, " can never be forgotten; it contained all of feeling 
that we are capable of; we understood the whole then." 

Still another climax of emotion was in store for the audi- 
ence. Let it be told in words written on that day. " As 
soon as the intermission commenced, Mr. Underwood came to 
the front of the platform and quietly said : 4 Ladies and gentle- 
men, I am requested by the committee of arrangements to 
inform you that the expected Proclamation of the President 
has been issued and is now being transmitted over the wires 
to New York.' The scene that followed can be remembered, 
can be felt, but cannot be described. Indeed, in the midst of 
the strong emotions that crowded thick and fast, what passed 
before our eyes was scarcely seen and little noticed. Shouts, 
cheers, waving of handkerchiefs were confusedly mingled to- 
gether, almost deadened by the convulsive beating of my own 
heart. I think but one such moment can come to mortal man. 
After quiet had settled again over the excited throng, Mr. Quincy, 
from a seat at the back of the house, read General Saxton's 
proclamation to the freedmen of South Carolina, summoning 
them to the headquarters of the First South Carolina Volun- 
teers to hear the President's Proclamation read January 1. 
This was greeted with three cheers for Abraham Lincoln." 

Long as the concert was, with its choruses, its concerto, and 
its mighty symphony, inspiration was granted to those gathered 
there both to render and to listen ; upon floor and platform 
the genius of music wrought its perfect spell. One of the 



— 



1906.] "RISE AND FALL OF THE MODEL REPUBLIC." 253 

great issues of life stood revealed in terms of art ; in the cry 
of violins, the throb of drums, the uplifted song of many voices, 
was borne to the spirit of men the meaning of human freedom. 
And above them all stood the form of Beethoven, in his hand 
a scroll which bore the notes of the Choral Symphony, his own 
message bidding mankind to rejoice. 

The President presented a copy of Williams's " Rise and 
Fall of the Model Republic," and said : — 

Turning over, recently, certain literary material pertaining 
to the Civil War, with a view to relieving my book-shelves, I 
came across a volume, published in London in 1863, entitled 
The Rise and Fall of the Model Republic. Its author was one 
James Williams, a Southerner, and a man of some mark appar- 
ently, as on the title-page he is described as "late American 
Minister to Turkey." The book is dedicated to u The friends 
of rational liberty and to the adversaries of despotic govern- 
ment whether administered under the rule of a single tyrant 
or of a multitude." I have tried to get some further infor- 
mation about Williams, but with very unsatisfactory results. 
He seems still to be vaguely recalled in Eastern Tennessee 
as once " a flourishing man of considerable wealth," and 
the proprietor of a warehouse at Knoxville. What was 
known as an " old line Whig," he apparently joined forces 
with the Democrats in the presidential canvass of 1856, and 
rendered service on the stump and with his pen to the 
Buchanan cause. He was known as " Captain " Williams, 
and his appointment to Turkey, which he received from 
Buchanan in 1858, and held until the early part of 1861, was 
strongly recommended by Andrew Johnson among others. 
He published during the war a second work, entitled The 
South Vindicated, said to have been the first book copyrighted 
by the Confederacy ; but I have not come across any copy of 
it. One of the submerged in the Civil War deluge, he was 
never " reconstructed," and though it is believed that he 
visited the United States once or possibly twice after leaving 
Turkey, he never again resided here. He died in Gratz, 
Austria, about three years after the close of the war. His 
book is merely part of the flotsam of the great cataclysm, in 
which he seems to have been a minor actor, and of which he 
was one of the innumerable victims, now forgotten. 



254 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Before disposing as mere rubbish of the copy of Williams's 
book, which somehow had come into my possession, I turned 
over its pages to see if there might by chance be in it some- 
thing of value. In doing so, I came across certain passages 
so very characteristic of the time and the temper of dis- 
cussion then prevailing, that they seemed to me worth pre- 
serving in our Proceedings. Taken as a whole the volume 
has no appreciable value ; but those particular passages ought, 
I thought, to be embalmed as flies in amber, — as curiosities 
of literature, if nothing more. 

Moreover, it is always desirable to avail ourselves of any 
opportunity to see ourselves through others' eyes. A good 
view of this kind can hardly fail to be ralutary. In this 
volume, for instance, I find a pen-and-ink portraiture of the 
New England congregationalist minister. There have always 
been a number greater or less of this highly respected class on 
the rolls of our Society. We have some now. It therefore 
affords me no inconsiderable satisfaction to hold this looking^ 
glass up before our associates, Dr. De Normandie and Dr. 
Gordon, and ask them whether, in the image reflected, they 
fail to see themselves : — 

" Behold the descendant of the Puritan ! Two hundred years have 
wrought many changes in the moral, political, and social world. Kings 
have become plebeians, and plebeians kings. Empires have passed 
away, and others have been created. Old systems have been super- 
seded by new ones, and whether or not the world has grown better 
and wiser its whole aspect has been altered. But the Puritan of the 
type we are now considering has remained unchanged in the harsh 
features of his nature, however much he may have been obliged to 
yield to the force of public opinion in the outward manifestations of his 
ruling passion. He is no more a regicide, because in the land where 
his lot is cast there are no more kings to kill. He no longer drowns 
or burns witches, for his ancestors exterminated them long ago. He 
no longer buys and sells savages in order to ' bring them to a knowl- 
ege of the true and living faith,' for the last Indian of all the tribes 
which peopled the wilderness has perished before the unrelenting 
despotism which was enforced against them by his forefathers. He no 
longer hangs other Christians, nor inflicts upon them the more lenient 
chastisement of stripes and banishment, for non-conformity to his pecu- 
liar doctrines ; but he would exterminate the Southerners with fire and 
sword, because they are not willing to submit to his dictation in the 
management of their domestic affairs. He would enslave, or if need 



1906.] "RISE AND FALL OF THE MODEL REPUBLIC." 255 

be, slay twenty millions of freemen in order to confer upon four mil- 
lions of Africans what he calls freedom ; but he would re-enslave these 
again if they transgressed one jot or tittle of the moral law as 
expounded by himself. 

" He whom we are now considering is not only a parson — an 'ex- 
pounder of God's word,' and a teacher of morals, but he is a politician. 
He does not preach to-day in the pulpit against the sins denounced by 
Christ and his apostles, and deliver a stump speech to-morrow upon the 
party politics of the day ; but in either place and in all places he blends 
the duties of the two together. His sermon is always a political 
harangue interlarded with phrases originating in the rum-shop — his 
political harangue a sermon abounding in scriptural quotations. He 
may only be properly described by the appellation of ' political parson.' 

" You search in vain over the lines of his strongly marked counte- 
nance, and gaze into his cold calm eye, to find some trace of human 
sympathy or of human weakness. His features are never relaxed into 
a smile, except when he contemplates the consummation of some event 
which would make others weep. He feels no sentiment of compassion 
for the slave, but he hates the master with all the ferocity of his 
nature. His brow grows darker when he is told that the African slave 
is happy and contented with his lot ; but his soul is filled with a joy 
unspeakable as he listens to the recital of the bloody deeds of a John 
Brown ; and he straightway falls upon his knees and gives thanks to 
God that ' he has vouchsafed to his servant this great boon.' You may 
respect him for the strong points in his character ; but you would never 
seek to be his boon companion. He may excite an emotion of fear, but 
never a sentiment of love. Whether engaged in stealing slaves from 
the coast of Africa, or assassinating the white men to whom he sold 
them, for the sin of being slave-holders, he always professes to be 
'doing his duty as a servant of the Lord.' When the work of the day 
is finished he sings a psalm, reads a chapter in the Bible, says a 
prayer, and retires to the enjoyment of tranquil slumbers." 

Burns long ago exclaimed : — 

" Oh wad some power the giftie gie us 
To see oursels as others see us ! " 

and in this case, so far as the congregationalist divine is con- 
cerned, the prayer has been answered. In the portrayal I 
have quoted it is now given to Messrs. De Normandie and 
Gordon to gaze on their own lineaments as seen by one 
portion of their fellow countrymen only half a century back. 

But, levity aside, I submit that the foregoing extract from 
a volume written by a Confederate, and printed in London in 



256 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

the year 1863, is a most suggestive and consequently valuable 
scrap of evidence for the historian of the Civil War period, — 
one well worthy of preservation. It throws a strong gleam of 
light on the psychological conditions which prevailed anterior 
to 1861, and led up to the crisis which then occurred. Some- 
where in the correspondence of the late Dr. Francis Lieber 
there is a remark I have seen quoted, I think by our associate 
Mr. Rhodes, 1 that, during the period immediately antecedent to 
the Civil War, the North and South reproduced the conditions 
noticed by some classic Greek observer at the time of the 
Peloponnesian War. The two parts of the common country 
were unintelligible to each other, — they spoke different 
languages. The extract I have given from Williams's book 
affords a good illustration of the correctness of this remark. 
Another illustration, on the other side, might be found in 
fiction by turning the pages of Uncle Tom's Cabin, and in fact 
in the John Brown raid. John Brown, it will be remembered, 
was absolutely persuaded that the condition of slavery was so 
cruel and so abhorrent to the black that it would only be 
necessary to raise the standard of insurrection to cause all 
Virginia to break into revolt. Three years later practical 
experience convinced us that the presence of the Union 
armies in the heart of the slave States led to no servile unrest. 
As for Uncle Tom and Legree, they were just about as remote 
from the general Southern standard of slave and slave-driver 
as Mr. Williams's congregationalist minister is from those 
of the type intimately known by us here. The one and 
the other were equally caricatures. 2 Yet each side believed 
implicitly in the correctness of its own characterization of 
the other. Unless this fact is firmly grasped by the historian 
through just such contemporary portrayals as that quoted from 
the volume I now present to the Society, the true inwardness of 
the situation which made inevitable our Civil War cannot be 
understood. 

Mr. James Ford Rhodes read a paper of considerable 
length entitled " Negro-carpet-bag-rule in South Carolina," 
which was listened to with much interest, and elicited remarks 

1 History of the United States, vol. ii. p. 189. 

2 In John C. Reed's book The Brothers' War there is a very suggestive 
chapter (pp. 161-207) on " Uncle Tom's Cabin," written from the standpoint of 
an intelligent Southerner forty years after Emancipation. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 257 

from Messrs. Thomas W. Higginson and Moorfield Storey. 
As it was not the wish of the writer that this paper should be 
printed in the Proceedings, and as it is the recognized intention 
of the Society not to publish in its volumes discussions as to 
matters of recent political controversy, no abstract of this paper 
or of the discussion which followed its presentation is here 
given. 

Mr. Charles C. Smith communicated for Mr. Worthington 
C. Ford, of Washington D. C, a Corresponding Member, a 
large mass of letters written by William Duane, editor of the 
Philadelphia Aurora, with an introductory note by Mr. 
Ford : — 

Of the newspapers devoted to the Jefferson or anti- 
Federalist policy, the best known and perhaps the ablest 
edited was the " Aurora," published in Philadelphia. Estab- 
lished by Benjamin Franklin Bache, the grandson of Franklin, 
its purpose was to criticise the acts and intentions of the 
Federalists, of Washington and of John Adams, and to build 
up a Republican party in Pennsylvania. Bache died of a 
fever, and William Duane, an Irish-American, married the 
widow and succeeded to the editorship and proprietorship of 
the paper. As an editor he was much abler than Bache, 
better trained in writing, more experienced in management of 
men, and of more liberal political views. Bache criticised 
men rather than measures, while to Duane the policy rather 
than the man was the object of attack. 

Little is known of his early career, though it has been 
asserted that both in England and in India he had passed 
through a martyrdom, suffering for his too outspoken opinions. 
Public men were sensitive, but the large number of refugees 
who sought to escape persecution from those high in power 
by coming to the United States more than sufficed to supply 
the journals with able, unscrupulous, and often scandalous 
characters. Duane's exact offences in those two countries are 
not known ; but he came to Philadelphia and found congenial 
occupation on the " Aurora." His friendship, almost intimacy, 
and his loyalty to Jefferson constitute his claims for recogni- 
tion ; and the letters now printed prove this friendship, while 
casting a somewhat curious light upon his disinterestedness, 
upon the vicissitudes of journalism, and upon the views of 

33 



258 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

public office and its rewards entertained by himself and his 
great patron. His ambition was great, and his thirst for public 
employment insatiable. But his constant need for money 
curbed his endeavors and limited his activity, exercising a 
wholesome correction to a spirit that might have developed 
into the blackguardism of Callender, Lyon, or Cheetham, while 
obliging him to quarrel with his friends even more generally 
than with his enemies. The " Aurora " had a large circulation 
in its first years, but the actual advent of the Jefferson adminis- 
tration raised competitors, and Duane had a hard struggle to 
maintain himself by the newspaper. He sought aid again 
and again from Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, of whose cause 
he regarded himself the champion. Having suffered in the 
" reign of terror," — the Republican name for the administra- 
tion of John Adams, — and having been persecuted by the 
Senate for his writings, he looked to his patrons for rewards 
adequate to his own idea of the debt. His wish to obtain 
government contracts for printing and stationery met with the. 
approval even of Gallatin, who was personally above any 
suspicion of wrong intent. 



Albert Gallatin to Thomas Jefferson. 

[December 15, 1801.] 

Dear Sir, — The enclosed requires but little comment. Why M r 
Beckley did not divide the printing between M r Duane and M r Smith 
I do not know ; but I am sure that most of our friends are so cha- 
grined at it, that they speak of altering the rules of the House, so as to 
have the printer appointed by the House & not by the clerk. M r Smith 
came here before the fate of the election was ascertained, and at a risk. 
He was promised by myself and others every reasonable encouragement. 
But this cannot be construed into an exclusive monopoly. He has 
already the printing of the laws and of every department; and the 
Congress business might have been divided. 

I wish however that Mr. D's application for purchase of his 
stationary might be communicated to the several heads of Department ; 
and, if you think it proper, the letter being transmitted by you may be 
better attended to. We may in the Treasury purchase a part, but 
cannot pay until Congress shall have made an appropriation ; ours 
being exhausted. 

No letters which required immediate answer having been received 
these three days, I have delayed acting on them, until I had got rid of 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 259 

the report to Congress. This is the reason of your not receiving any 
these two days. 

With sincere respect & Affection, your obed f Serv* 

Albert Gallatin. 

In the expectation of obtaining these contracts Duane 
opened a store in Washington, which was entirely unsuccessful 
from every point of view and left him in debt. Harassed by 
lawsuits and by finding increasing difficulty in obtaining the 
necessary credit or in continuing the old credits, he turned to 
other occupations, and the troubles with England pointed to a 
military career as possible and even profitable. His Military 
Library is but little known and is less esteemed. As a money- 
making scheme it would not have succeeded had he not sold 
an edition to the government, a sale based more upon favoritism 
than upon the merits of the work. His career in the army 
was of little credit to himself, and is told in brief in the 
Memoirs of John Quincy Adams. 1 Poor, embarrassed, and by 
his conduct deprived of friends, Duane sought many ways of 
bettering his condition, but with little success. 

As his financial troubles became worse, his temper became 
more uncertain and irascible. No one appeared to trust him, 
his friends fearing him quite as much as did his enemies, and 
never knowing the day when he would turn upon them and 
abuse them with the knowledge he had gained in their inter- 
course. He criticised Madison and opposed Monroe ; he 
fought Gallatin for reasons which had little foundation and 
were peculiarly exasperating to Gallatin's friends. His course 
in State politics was marked by a personal and intemperate 
bias that made him feared and hated. He was on the losing 
side, and the " Aurora " became less and less influential 
and profitable, and ceased to be the organ of Republicanism. 
Jefferson remained his friend, seeking opportunities to aid 
him, and Duane remained loyal to Jefferson ; yet even Jefferson 
recognized his errors. He wrote in 1811 : " I believe Duane 
to be a very honest man, and sincerely republican; but his 
passions are stronger than his prudence, and his personal as 
well as general antipathies render him very intolerant." Thir- 
teen years worked no change, and Duane transferred his pen 
to the aid of the opponents of the Republicans. John Quincy 

1 See vol. v. pp. 112, 117. 



260 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Adams describes him as a man of talents, having much knowl- 
edge crammed without order or method into his head, and 
of indefatigable industry. But he was known to be in the 
market for sale to the highest bidder, and these letters measure 
the burden of debt as well as the burden of moral qualities 
that invited hostility rather than friendship. 

To . 



Philadelphia, April 17, 1800 

The cabinet here is in a very discordant condition. They hang to- 
gether only like wretched mariners on detached planks ; if one lets go, 
the whole go. You will be surprised to learn that an indictment has been 
found against me for publishing the celebrated letters of Listo?i, seized 
on Sweezey. The sheriff of Berks aud two others are included in the 
indictment ; but, more strange still I they were sent to me, and published 
by the express direction of Gov. Mifflin, after being opened by the 
express authority of Robert Wharton, our good Mayor. 

I am told that they have withdrawn the indictment found against 
me, at Norristown, last fall, predicated on my assertion concerning 
British influence, as declared by Mr. Adams. It seems they found out 
that I had the actual letter of Mr. Adams in my possession. 

Mr. Cooper, late of Manchester (you know him personally and well), 
is to be tried on sedition on Saturday. He pleads his own cause. He 
applied for a subpoena of the President yesterday. The court refused ; 
and, as I have been told, the judge declared that the President could 
not be affected by any legal proceedings, unless by an impeachment; so 
that we have one man above the law. Chase presides, and Peters is 
the puisne judge. I have not been out of town ; have lived mostly 
in my own house ; and have been several times on the parade with the 
legion. [Mr. Duane is a captain, we believe, in that corps.] I keep 
retired only because there is no magistrate to be found, who has a 
knowledge of his duty and his rights, or virtue or courage to act upon 
the habeas corpus right. If there were, I should take care to be arrested 
immediately. In the present circumstances, my only course is to defeat 
their malice, and give a good example to others. 

Yours, 

William Duane. 

To Thomas Jefferson. 1 

Washington, March 1, 1801 
Sir, — The papers accompanying were given me for communication 
to you, they originated in the following manner. Prior to my setting 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1908.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 261 

out for Lancaster in the month of October last, Mr. Lee, the person 
whom they concern, called on me and stated that he had been dismissed 
from his situation for discovering the removal of papers from the De- 
partment of State by means of a false key, and wished me to publish 
the facts. I objected to publish unless he would commit the matters 
to writing and depose to them before a magistrate, which he offered to 
do. Thereupon I wrote a note to Mr. Gardner, requesting him to at- 
tend to the matter while I was absent, which he did, and the matters 
stated in the accompanying papers were given in the presence of Mr. 
Gardner and Mr. James Ker, of Philadelphia. I did not think the 
facts so strongly stated as he at first represented them to me, and there- 
fore did not publish them. 

The receipt of a letter from Mr. Gardner induces me to lay the papers 
now before you. The poor man appears to have been sacrificed for his 
fidelity, and to be reduced to the extreme of wretchedness. Perhaps 
in any arrangements that may be hereafter made, some situation of 
equal value with what he held before might be found in the Custom 
house or elsewhere. 

I have no other knowledge of the man than what arises from the 
occurrences in this case — and am impelled only by duty to present 
the papers and state what I know on the subject, submitting the case 
with deference to your consideration. 

I am with respect, your obedt. Servt. 

Reed. March 2. [Endorsement by Jefferson.] 

To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, May 10, 1801 

Sir,' — Mr. W. P. Gardner who will present this letter carries with 
him a small box containing impressions of two medals, which I have 
had by me some time past waiting for an opportunity safe and suitable. 
Mr. Gardner is a man of great worth in every civil relation, and is one 
of those who was compelled to quit the Treasury Department thro' 
the injuries done him on account of his political opinions. He is no 
ordinary man, and to his private virtues and political integrity I can 
testify. He is a native of this city. 

The medals of which you will receive copies were engraved by a 
young man of the name of C. J. Reich, a native of Germany, but a re- 
publican, and on that account obliged to fly his native country. It 
appears that he engraved the medal of Italicus in secret, and from his 
own account had an interview with the hero at Rastadt. It seems that 
in order to come to the United States, he had indented himself, and is 
now in this city, tho' not in absolute indigence or villainage, is yet 

1 Jeff. MSS. 



262 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

circumstanced so as to render his situation irksome to him, as must be 
supposeable from the merits of his works, and his personal manners. 

Hearing of his worth, and knowing what it is to be in a strange land 
without a knowledge of its language, it recurred to me, that the cap of 
liberty had been erased from our public coins, and other innovations 
of a tendency correspondent with the views of certain weak men made 
during the last administration ; and hearing on enquiry, that there were 
public medals to be cut ; I thought it a duty in various respects to rescue 
this man if possible from the unfitness of his condition, and to make his 
merits known to you. 

As a connoisseur I do not pretend to judge of the Medals, but as a 
person conversant with analogous branches of the arts, they strike me 
as of superior character. If on consideration the merits of the artist 
should be such as to entitle him to your patronage, and there are any 
services in his profession upon which he could be employed, it would 
greatly serve the man, and afford me extreme delight to have been the 
means of rescuing him from his present situation. I advised him to 
draft a letter to you, which he did in German, of which a translation, 
tho' very imperfectly done, I think proper to forward herewith. His. 
application is confined to the knowledge of two others and myself. 
Should there be any commands for him, I shall with great pleasure 
receive and communicate them to him. 

Permit me to mention, that I have found it necessary to enter into the 
Stationary and Bookselling business, the hostility of the Custom House, 
and the abuse in the Post Office, rendering all ideas of profit from my 
newspaper hopeless. Should no engagements be made for the supply of 
Stationary for the public offices, I shall be obliged by the contracts for 
that service, which 1 trust I shall be able to execute as well and on as 
reasonable terms as any other person. 

If no arrangements have been made for obtaining the books to supply 
the public Library, ordered by the late Congress, my acquaintance with 
men of letters in England, and the most eminent Booksellers, would 
enable me to procure them with more advantage than any other person 
not similarly circumstanced could. 

These favors I should be grateful for, and as they are professional, 
I trust it will not be considered as presuming that I suggest them. In 
the season of danger I laid aside personal consideration, in the return 
of a milder season it is incumbent upon me to make provision for my 
little progeny, and the little progeny of my predecessor, the descendants 
of Franklin who have become mine, to which another has been just 
added by the birth of a daughter. 

I have not permitted myself to touch upon politics, because I am not to 
suppose that you have not other channels by which you can obtain infor- 
mation from hence ; and particularly as I am apprehensive of intruding 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 263 

too much upon your leisure. If, however, it should be supposed that 
the confidence which is reposed in me should enable me to give less 
partial views of the state of parties and political interests and characters 
in this state, than those who are the interested actors in them, I shall 
be at all times ready to state faithfully and if necessary frequently such 
information as may appear to me useful and authentic ; at present I 
think it of the utmost importance that the true state of politics in Penn- 
sylvania should be known, particularly as an election occurs in October, 
and a governmental Election not far remote, for which movements are 
already making. 

I have the honor to be your sincere and respectful serv* 

Tuesday noon. The trial on the Indictment at the instigation 
of the Senate, postponed this instant to October, then to be tried 
peremptorily ! ! ! 

Dr. Franklin's daughter, Mrs. Bache, is now at table, and requests 
to be particularly remembered to you. 

To James Madison. 

Philadelphia, May 10, 1801 

Sir, — Without any other title to the liberty I take, that [than] 
what may be allowed me from the respect I have learned to entertain 
for your virtues and talents, exerted in the cause of my country, and 
which I have in a much humbler sphere endeavored to emulate, I now 
take the liberty of addressing you, and even in this first instance to 
solicit a favor. 

The publication of " The Aurora " tho' more extensive in its circu- 
lation than any other paper in the Union, is so much cramped in its 
funds by the active hostility of the Custom House, that the only source 
of profit to such a paper that of Advertising is too inadequate to render 
it a pursuit eligible for any man who has a family to provide for in any 
other than times where public security supercede the calls of personal 
Interest. I believe I have not been backward in the season of danger. 
In this halcyon period it is necessary that I should provide for the 
little progeny of my own, and the little progeny of my predecessor, the 
descendants of Franklin, who by marriage have fallen under my wing. 
I have therefore sought to establish myself in a business analogous to 
that with which habit and experience have made me familiar — I mean 
the bookselling and Stationary business. 

My present purpose is to solicit, should no engagements be already 
made, that I may have the supply of the Department of State with 
Stationary of every description. 

Permit me also to suggest, that as provision has been made for fur- 
nishing a library for the use of Congress, that I should be glad to 



264 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

undertake the provision of such books as may be required, and as I 
have had some experience, having resided in England for five years, 
and am acquainted not only with the first booksellers but numbers of 
the first literary characters in that Country, I could undertake the 
importation of the Books for the public Library under advantages that 
few others possess. 

I have not hitherto asked any favor of the administration, tho' 
honored by the confidence and good opinion of I believe the majority 
of the People of America — and I seek no other favor than such as 
may be given and received with honor and independence to the Admin- 
istration and to me. 

I took the liberty of addressing a letter to Mr. Lincoln a few days 
ago, wherein I urged, that it would be rendering an useful service to 
the public, and to the republican printers, if the latter were authorised 
to publish the Laws of the Union upon these terms. That such papers 
only should be authorised to print them, as it was intended should be 
in future authorised; that if contracts had been made to the amount 
authorised by law with other printers by the late administration, 
then those who should now be authorised should not demand pay- 
ment unless Congress should be willing to grant it ; this step would 
contribute to the circulation of the laws themselves, and of the republi- 
can newspapers, and it would counteract in a degree the artful stroke 
of the late administration of pensioning papers in advance to oppose 
the present administration. If it were necessary, I could furnish a 
list of all the papers which have been so active and useful as to lay 
claim to the attention of the administration. 

If at any time any service might be required of me, or any political 
information concerning this city or state, it would give me particular 
satisfaction to furnish any service of which I am capable for the public 
advantage. 

I am, Sir, with Sincere respect and esteem 
Your obedt Ser* 

W M Duane, Editor of the Aurora, 

To Jefferson. 1 

Philadelphia, June 10, 1801 

Sir, — I was honored by yours of the 23 May, which I should have 
acknowledged before could I have found a person to whose care I 
might entrust the delivery of a letter. Lieut. Mcllroy, late com- 
mander of the Augusta, has informed me of his intention to proceed 
this morning, and I embrace the opportunity of writing by him. Mr. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 265 

Mcllroy it appears incurred the enmity of captain Sever, by drinking 
Mr. Jefferson's health in the West Indies and attributes his dismission 
to that and the like political causes, which he considers as particularly 
unfortunate at this time from the experience which he had as an officer 
for six years in the Mediterranean on board a British ship of war, in 
which he rose by merit, tho' originally impressed. I mention these 
facts from a conviction of their truth, and my personal knowledge of 
his uncommon merits as a seaman. 

The death of F. A. Muhlenburg on the 4th inst. has produced a 
change in the political prospects in this state. His conduct on the 
British treaty lost him the confidence of all the independent republi- 
cans • the opposite party had determined to run him for Governor, on 
finding that the General would not be made their instrument ; which, I 
believe, from his being the real agitator of the schism which took place 
in the last session, of our legislature, he would have been willing to 
become. There is no other character among the Germans of talents 
and standing equal to the deceased ; his capacity as a German writer 
was admired, and there does not appear to be any one equal to him 
left. Some of the Germans talked of General Heister, but he is too 
honest a man to submit to any measure that could produce a division. 
The consolidation of the republican interest will therefore depend in 
the first instance on the degree of countenance which the violent men 
in office meet with, and on the precautions of the Governor in his 
appointments. There are many disaffected to him, on account of some 
few appointments already made, and as is usual without just grounds 
of dissatisfaction. But I make no doubt, that upon the removal of men 
who have been oppressors and persecutors here, the effect will be a 
more firm and general adherence than even in the last general Election 
to the principles by which alone security can be obtained. The con- 
tinuation of Humphrys as naval constructor has given considerable 
disquiet, the communications which I have had concerning him, his 
abuses of trust and wrongs to individuals for opinion sake, would fill 
several sheets. The remembrance of his son being appointed to France 
for his assault on Ben. Franklin Bache is as strong as if it happened 
but a month since. Ever since I have been confined, the repub- 
licans and men too of the first credit and standing in the southern dis- 
trict of this city have repeatedly applied to me for information. I have 
stated as my opinion that nothing would be done hastily, but upon due 
enquiry no man who had abused his trust to corrupt or persecuting 
purposes would obtain the confidence of the administration. As they 
are so kind as to repose considerable confidence in my opinions, I appre- 
hend these assurances tend to quiet them in some measure, tho 5 there 
are numbers discontented at the continuance in office of the three 
principal officers of the Customs. 

34 



266 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

I communicated to Mr. Reich (the Medal Engraver) the intimation 
to wait on Mr. Boudinot, which I suppose he has done. 

What you are pleased to say with regard to the prosecutions exactly 
agrees with my recollection. I do not precisely recollect what I said to 
Mr. Gallatin, but when I wrote him I was under the impression, that 
a course different from your wishes had been pursued. I understood 
that the Sedition Law being unconstitutional, it would be treated as a 
nullity ; but when I wrote, the prosecution was then coming on in 
court under that law. I could account for this in no other way but by 
supposing that Mr. Lincoln or Mr. Dallas had mistaken your senti- 
ments, because the agitation of the question in court under that law 
appeared to me, a recognition of its validity. I feared nothing from 
the goodness of Mr. Lincoln's heart, but I apprehended lest he should 
be apprel-3nsive of meeting the displeasure of his Eastern friends by 
openly opposing that Law ; and that therefore his instructions to Mr. 
Dallas were not so strong as were necessary, or so precise as the 
spirit of your intentions demanded. It was peculiarly irksome to me 
on many accounts. I was deprived of Mr. Dallas's legal aid, and Mr. 
Cooper was engaged in the mission to Luzerne in this State, but 
remained solely to defend me. Mr. Dickerson tho' possessing the 
purest esteem and the best dispositions, yet from his youth could not 
appear to advantage against Mr. Ingersol, a man who entertains the 
most incurable hatred for me, and was the instigator of the attack 
which has robbed me of my birthright for the present. I do not 
recollect feeling any sentiment of dislike to a change of Judicature, and 
I am sure no change could be worse, from a court where the clerk 
contrives to pack the Juries out of men who were British soldiers 
in arms against American Independence and Tories who have never 
renounced their sworn allegiance to George III. of which a late Jury was 
composed. Indeed after my efforts to obtain Evidence at Washington, of 
which General Mason or his brother J. T. Mason can inform you, I 
see no prospect of ever obtaining any evidence : and if it should ever 
come on again, I must be obliged to submit it to the discretion of the 
court ; tho* no man can doubt the truth of every tittle uttered in the 
publication. Could the evidence be brought forward, I certainly was 
willing to stand a fair trial, but the Court has decided that a commis- 
sion is a matter of favor — that as I knew the Congress was to be 
removed to Washington I ought to have considered that before I pub- 
lished — and that I would have the benefit only of such evidence as 
was within a given distance ! 

There have been so many of these prosecutions, that I was really 
bewildered by the mass of evidence necessary to meet them. To have 
gone to Court upon them all would have left me no time to transact 
my ordinary business, and Mr. Dallas has so generously and zealously 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 267 

undertaken my defence on all these cases, that I have avoided wherever 
I could intruding upon him, leaving to the approach of term the 
arrangements to be made. I had spoken to him, however, to obtain a 
state of the causes, which he undertook to forward himself. At present 
I have no opportunity of communication with him, but upon a deliber- 
ate consideration of the situation in which I have stood, and now stand, 
and the feelings of my family, I do not hesitate to solicit a nolle prosequi 
upon that prosecution. 

In absolute peril or in a great struggle for a great good, I believe I 
should be one of the last to shrink from danger or contest. I am 
neither shaken in my principles nor broken in spirit. But after the 
turbulent contest which I have gone thro' with this most remorseless of 
factions, and injured as I have been in the stigma put on me, contrary 
to precedent, and under the refusal to accept a crowd of authentic docu- 
ments as collateral evidence of my birth and attachment to my country, 
I am shocked. I begin to feel the injury I have sustained, and to con- 
sider that it has been done, because I was not base — but because I 
have been formidable to oppressors. I look at my family and I see 
united in it those who have been long the victims of Federal persecu- 
tion along with my off-spring, combining the claims of eight years contest 
and persecution : the descendants of Franklin and the beloved wife of the 
amiable and good Bache, become my inheritance and my delightful care. 

When I see all my countrymen at peace, and republicanism diffus- 
ing concord and harmony, under the reign of liberty and moderation, 
I cannot but think it hard that I alone should still remain the victim. 
If I stood alone, had I no concerns but those which are personal, I 
should scorn to look behind ; but when at this moment a combination 
is entered into to prevent the purchase of books or stationary at a 
store which I have opened upon a credit — - when the Collector of the 
Customs, seeks to deter Auctioneers and Merchants from advertising 
in my paper — and when all the profits arising from that paper, do not 
enable me to disencumber myself from the debts with which it was 
incumbered during the unexampled struggles and sacrifices of my pre- 
decessor, I think I should be insensible to my family interests, if I 
were not to solicit such protection as may be fairly and justly held out 
to me, considering that all the hostility towards me arises from the 
very efforts against those who seek to overwhelm me. 

I had determined before the election, that upon the success of the 
people's choice, I should dispose of the paper and pursue another pro- 
fession, but I find the hatred so violent against me that it would follow 
me for ever, and in any other situation I should not possess such formi- 
dable means of defence. But the paper, tho' it maintains my family, 
affords no surplus, even to discharge old debts, which has induced me to 
extend my views to the bookselling and stationary j if encouraged in 



268 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

these I may still thrive, or if changes take place here which would 
influence the mercantile interest, my business would reward my past 
and future industry. 

I have taken the liberty to speak without reserve, because I entertain 
that opinion of your liberality that you will excuse it. The world 
think me making a fortune, because I am always cheerful! My 
friends think it unnecessary to be very particular in their favors in the 
way of business, because they say industry and talents like mine will 
always meet reward ! The best paper in the United States must of 
course be the most profitable ! But they never consider that there is 
more money spent in making it a good paper, and more labour than 
on any two papers in the union ! and that this must be the case, or it 
must become as vapid and dull as those that are more profitable and 
printed cheaper ! 

I proposed giving you an outline of the late legal proceedings, but 
have already taken too much of your time. It is my purpose to peti- 
tion Congress, and submit to its decision the evidence which the Circuit 
Court refused. 

It is my purpose to carry a sufficient supply of Stationary to Wash- 
ington, if I should be so fortunate as to be favored by the heads of 
departments — but unless I have an assurance of their support I cannot 
subject myself to the heavy debt which I should incur by making a 
suitable provision. If I had an estimate of the quantities required 
for a given time, and assurance of favor, I could obtain a stock instantly 
to any amount. 

Believe me with the most sincere respect and attachment, your obed! 
Servant. 

To Joseph Nancrede. 1 

I 

Philadelphia, 30 September, 1801 
Dear Str, — I received your two letters of the 11th duly, and have 
ordered as you desire your subscription to cease. Your favoring me 
as you propose with information from Europe will be a favor which I 
shall acknowledge with gratitude, and for which the public will have a 
right to be thankful, for in the present enslaved state of the press in 
every nation of Europe no faithful information can be had from any, 
and truth is only to be arrived at by a judicious examination of what 
is suffered to be promulgated by rivals. 

If you could by any means prevail upon any respectable bookseller 
in London to become my correspondent, it would be rendering me an 
essential service. You know very well my present standing, and my 
having now the contract for serving the public offices of government 
with stationery, and the Congress ; there can be no doubt of my arriving 

1 Bookseller in Boston. 



1906.] LETTEES OF WILLIAM DUANE. 269 

at such a rank in the book-selling and stationery business as must 
render my correspondence a very eligible one to any man in trade in 
London. I should prefer the Robinsons, Johnson, or Debrett in Lon- 
don, next to them West & Co., Paternoster Row. Should you recollect 
these hints when in London, as it could not interfere with any pursuit 
of yours, or of any other friend, it would be doing me a service that I 
should be proud and ready to return to you on any occasion in any 
other shape. 

Your friend Dennie, I admired many years ago, and I believe I was 
one of the first in America who paid the tribute which I conceived due 
to his rising talents. He was then known to me only by his writings, 
and not by name. I consider him still as possessing talents. But 
Pickering whose touch was contagious, ruined him bv the aid of bad 
company here, and the rarity of genius and talent among the growth of 
mercenary young men, he was dazzled and deceived into an opinion of 
his powers, extremely above their real level. He came to Philadelphia 
expecting to find this city inhabited by such men as Mecamas and 
Cosmo di Medici, but he found that his patrons were Tarquins without 
magnificence, and Walpoles without profusion. He thought their reign 
eternal and his fame and fortune secure as if all his fancies were real- 
ities. He has been disappointed in everything, and has acted with the 
indiscretion of a man of no genius. He lost himself and he forgot his 
country. He was unfortunate in every step and in every project — 
even the Port Folio is now tumbling under its own weight. If you 
have anything to do with his partner Dickens settle it before you go. 
Young Fenno, part of whose strangely acquired stock in trade they had, 
has been in this city till this day — bringing about an account which 
appears to have been saddled with a profusion of luxurious expence. 
I suspect Denny will go to England — where he will experience ten 
thousand disappointments which he never dreamt of, and he will there 
either see his folly and repent — or sink into But I most sin- 
cerely wish him a better fortune and a better fate than he has plunged 
himself into. The Port Folio can not outlive the year. It has out- 
lived its popularity even with its patrons already ! I am sorry to have 
been obliged to contribute to its fall — but I conceived it my duty to 
attack it, manfully and not meanly as I have been attacked. 

I am very much gratified to hear that Mr. Tytler has undertaken 
System of Geography, for a thousand reasons. His talents, his inde- 
pendence of mind, and above all the deplorable ignorance which pre- 
vails thro' every System published hitherto on the subject, requires 
something to be done. I am proud it is to be done here and by Mr. 
Tytler, whom tho' I do not personally know, I have long respected. 
I was personally acquainted in London with his brother who at that 
time wrote for the Whitehall Evening Post. 



_= — — 



270 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

I think you are perfectly right in excluding all matter of a mere 
political nature. 1 do not mean thereby the desertion of truth or cor- 
rect principles such as were laid down by Locke and Rousseau. But 
such as are merely of a party nature. Geography is in fact wholly 
political, as it relates to the power, territory, production, &c, and pop- 
ulation of countries. It would afford me the utmost pleasure to con- 
tribute all the knowledge I may possess, but I could render Mr. Tytler 
very little information excepting in what relates to Asia only, where 
several years residence and an attempt to compile a Gazette of Asia 
while there made me better acquainted with that part of the world than 
persons who have not had the same opportunities. I once began a 
Geographical Gazetteer of India with the sanction of Sir Wm. Jones 
and Sir John Shore, and was permitted access to the Documents of the 
Revenue Department at Calcutta — but I was afterwards stopt, — for 
what reason I was only left to conjecture ! 

What aid I could lend I would most cheerfully do it, but I think the 
most serviceable aid I could give would be to point out the fallacies 
and mistakes of former Systems. I have not seen Mr. Tytler's Geog- 
raphy in Octavo, but I make no doubt that there are many corrections 
made by him. Indeed in Salmon's and Guthrie's— -almost every thing 
is said but what is fact concerning Asia. They have the outline of the 
Map, and some names, but every thing else belongs as much to Africa 
as to Asia. If I could have a perusal of the work which is to be the 
Skeleton of the new system I could very easily go thro' it in a reason- 
able time. The system laid down in your circular is excellent, and I 
make no doubt it will repay your pains and expenses with profit. It 
ought to [be] printed, and the engravings in the best Style possible, in 
which case you would in Europe only find a market for three or four 
thousand copies. 

It would be impossible for you to derive advantage from the mode in 
which you put your requisition for Information generally ; if you were 
to put particular questions on the various points, and request answers 
to them, you would derive great advantage — for example a series of 
printed questions numbered addressed to every member of Congress at 
the next Session would secure you information and perhaps subscribers. 
Some of your questions might be stated in this way — 

'* 1. Are the latitude and longitude of the towns in your district 
accurately laid down ? 

" 2. What are the natural productions in your district different from 
those that surround you ? 

" 3. What has been the increase of population in your state, county, 
or township ? " &c, &c. 

Accept my respectful wishes for your success. 

Wm. Duane. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 271 

To Pierce Butler. x 

Philadelphia, Nov. 12, 1801 

~D T . Sir, — I should have replied to yours of the 19 th inst. before, 
had not the urgency of law in the first instance and nay Stationary 
engagements for Washington city engrossed the whole of the time that I 
could spare from ordinary duties. Major Jackson has not for some years 
appeared active in local politics. He wrote much in 1797, in the 
Philadelphia Gazette of which I had been Editor for several months. 
After Mr. Adams's election he sat down a while, but on the organiza- 
tion of the system of terror he began to write again in the same paper. 
He became somewhat active on the creation of McPherson's Janissaries, 
and was appointed to stir up the Society of Cincinnati. He was ad- 
mitted to all the deliberations which Mr. Adams deigned to hold with 
his inferiors, and I have heard was much offended at the airs of supe- 
riority there assumed by the Great Man of Braintree. In our state 
election he did not appear openly in 1799, but he was very active in 
private and attended at Dunwoody's several times. In the 1799— 
1800 he was very indignant at the failure of Mr. Ross, and was among 
the most vociferous declaimers against the hotwater rebellion. He was 
one of those who recommended hanging on that occasion, and reprobated 
the pardons extorted by Mr. Dallas's memorial to Mr. Adams. The 
memorable meetings at Trenton were first made known to him in this 
city, and from a friend of his I had the facts which I published at that 
time, and which astonished him and others, tho' the major part of the 
public conceived the information unfounded. I knew them to be true 
by having another channel of information which was not known to the 
former, and both agreeing. Time has proved their truth, in the dis- 
grace of Pickering then foretold, and the fall of Hamilton's influence 
and office. Major Jackson from the spring of 1801, became extremely 
passive. Upon the approach of the Election of President he was invited 
out and called upon to aid in sustaining a party of which he was told 
he appeared to despair by his lukewarmness. The party was in fact 
divided and the majority of the Federalists here and in the legislature - 
being in favor of Mr. Adams, Major Jackson who has [had] declared 
for Mr. C. C. Pinckney, quitted them, became wholly inactive and left 
the party to carry on their intrigues under the direction of the Tilgh- 
mans, Rawle, Lewis, Ingersoll, Gurney, Hollings worth, etc. During 
the agitations occasioned by the uncertainty of the S. Carolina Votes, 
Major Jackson constantly attended the Coffee House, contrary to his 
usual custom, and once asserted that a letter had been received from 
you 2 intimating that Pinckney would be elected. He did not say that 

1 Jeff. MSS. 2 In the margin is written : " No such letter was written by P. B." 



272 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

he had the letter from you, but that he had heard you wrote such a 
letter ; which occasioned a very strong sensation here for some days ; 
and it occasioned a gala at Mr. Bingham's. 

When the truth of the Carolina vote came out, there was a total 
change. All the officers of the Customs assumed an air of moderation. 
I took notice of some of the acts of some of them, and Major Jackson 
called on me in the Printing office, when he produced a letter which he 
wished me to read, and asked me if I knew the handwriting with which 
I professed to be unacquainted. I knew it to be Mr. Jefferson's, but de- 
clined reading it as I did not know why it was produced. He informed 
me that it was a mistake very generally received that he was inimical to 
Mr. J. that on the contrary he had always admired his talents and virtues, 
and he was apprehensive that from what had been published in the Aurora, 
the Editor was under the same impression. I barely replied that I 
certainly had formed an opinion for myself on the subject. He requested 
me then to read the letter, which I did ; it was a letter of recommenda- 
tion, of date in either 1784 or 1785, expressed in general terms, stating 
Major Jackson to have served with credit in the revolution, that he 
was a man of respectable talents, and an American ! I made no obser- 
vation, and he withdrew reasserting his very profound respect for Mr. 
Jefferson. 

He continued so strongly fixed in this change that when the French 
treaty came to be discussed, he maintained in a public speech, the 
excellency and advantages of that treaty, at the Coffee House, and de- 
clared that it ought to be ratified in all its parts; and he wrote several 
sheets in defence of it. Some secret movement of which I have never 
been able to reach the bottom, produced a total change of opinion in 
him and Mr. Bingham, who at first agreed in the excellence of the 
treaty with France. Mr. Bingham was suddenly called to Washington, 
voted for the rejection of the French treaty, and was the mover of the 
motion for rejecting the second article which was finally carried. 
Major Jackson made the discovery about the same time that he had 
been mistaken at first and unsaid publicly all that he had before publicly 
declared. 

During the contest on the Presidential question in Congress in Feb- 
ruary, Major Jackson chose his ground with perspicacity, and undertook 
to write Mr. Jefferson an assurance that all the Merchants of Philadelphia 
wished him elected. He called together those who had before divided 
with him in favor of Pinckney against Adams, and they drew up a 
paper (Jackson the Scribe) addressed to the Pennsylvania delegation 
recommending them to support Mr. Jefferson, a copy of which you will 
believe reached another place beside the professed destination. 

From that time to the late election he has acted with the utmost 
circumspection and silence. But the republicans in the Custom House, 



—- 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 273 

particularly Major Simons, feel the hatred he holds them in. His con- 
duct is not so insolent as heretofore, but it is superciliously insulting ; 
he apprehends that Major Simons will succeed to his situation (which 
I hope and trust will be the case) and renders the duty to him more 
severe and rigid than it ever has been. Major Jackson has made no 
open public efforts on the late election, his only step was giving his 
vote, and visiting others to excite them out. Latimer's conduct is in- 
tolerable, his malice in some late instances to some republican merchants 
is not to be described. Nothing will appease the people here but a 
complete sweep of the Custom House. 

I shall be at Washington on the 21 s * and during the whole session. 
If I can be the means of any service or communicating any information 
it will afford me pleasure to shew my respect for you in that or any 
other way. Your obed 1 Servant 

To Jefferson} 

Washington, Jan. 7*£ 1802 

Sir, — The appearance of the Indian Chiefs in the House of Repre- 
sentatives this morning, has revived in my mind a subject upon which 
I have long reflected, and concerning which it was my purpose long 
since to have taken the liberty of addressing you. 

A consciousness of the superiority of the Whites, has at all times 
prevailed among the Indians and influenced them much more than the 
generally received notions, that they felt a consciousness of their 
superiority over the whites. 

To remove their prejudices would I respectfully presume be the most 
effectual mode of rendering them happy, securing their attachment to 
us, and for ever depriving European nations of their instrumentality. 

This I conceive might be effected by provisions for allowing each of 
the Indian Nations, a Representation in the Congress of the United 
States, under such limitations and conditions as would give them a due 
sense of their consequence in the American nation, and the common 
blessings and advantages which would accrue to them, by their incorpo- 
ration with a nation so important, and under circumstances perfectly 
analogous to their own ideas of delegation. 

I will not enter into a detail of the form of producing this momen- 
tous change. I flatter myself that the difficulties would be trivial, and 
the expence inconsiderable, compared with the advantages which it 
would produce to the Indians and to the Union. 

I can only just add, that this subject being mentioned a considerable 
time since to a Canadian Englishman, he deprecated the idea, and 
solicited earnestly that it might not be mentioned as it would destroy 

i Jeff. MSS. 
35 



274 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

the British influence for ever, and throw the Fur trade wholly into the 
States. I am, Sir, &c. 

To Jefferson} 

W. Duane's respects. No copies of the Country Aurora have ever 
been reserved, and only ten of the daily paper ; if the Daily Aurora 
will be acceptable, it will be [have?] to be ordered from Philadelphia, 
as none of 1801 are yet bound. No map of Maryland is to be had 
here. I have ordered two different copies from Philadelphia, which 
if they should not be acceptable, or either of them, can be kept here 
for sale, they being in demand. 

23d. April, 1802. 

To Abraham Bishop. 

Frankford, Aug. 28th, 1802 

Dr. Sir, — - 1 think Mr. Atwater might enter into the Bookselling 
with advantage — and that he might find persons readily disposed to 
enter into engagements with him here, and at New York & Boston. — 
the circumstances of the place appear as you describe them peculiarly 
favorable. Attendance at the next fair would be the most likely mode 
to accomplish his views at once — any assistance in my power, in the 
way of trade or advice is at his command. 

Your book I received and thank you for it heartily. The fever at 
Philadelphia will prevent the sale — - however, we shall see in Octo- 
ber. At present the fever rages with extreme violence — the accounts 
of our Board of Health are not to be relied on — they are timid, and 
interested to conceal calamity, as they conceive. One of my news car- 
riers who remained against my consent was taken ill last night — there 
are not ten thousand people in Phila. out of 60,000 and yet the con- 
tagion diffuses itself. 

I have had advice of your books being shipt for me but have not yet 
received them owing to the state of the City. It will be impossible to 
say what may be the prospect of sale for a second Edit, here till we 
have tried those that are on the way hither — if it were to sell equal 
with its value, I could speak on the subject. 

Your correspondence with Dfenniston] & Cheetham I lamented to 
see. I endeavoured to prevent its going on — and I regretted that my 
name had been introduced in the business, either on that point or any 
other. It was impossible for me with all my efforts to keep out of it — 
and in the general business I see I must take a very decided part soon. 
I did not authorize my name to be used as one who saw you at Lan- 
caster, nor was I advised of it or asked until I saw it in print. The 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 275 

use must have been made upon the ground of letters written by me 
while we were at Lancaster, tho' I never reported any such conversa- 
tion of yours. By the bye, I think a man who had never seen or 
known Mr. Jefferson, and had only heard of him thro' the calumnies of 
his adversaries, might very innocently have expressed such apprehen- 
sions as generally prevailed, that he wanted firmness and vigor &c. 
Many worthy men and warm admirers of Mr. Jefferson have suggested 
such doubts to me and expressed a fear that the mildness of his char- 
acter would be injurious to him. But I know many of these, who 
now know that he is by far the most decided and uniform character 
of the whole administration. Whether you ever uttered such senti- 
ments in my hearing or not I really cannot say. I do not recollect 
having ever said so — for indeed I pay very little attention to the 
conversations of men whom I do not Respect, and I always since I 
knew you entertained the best opinion of your head & heart. 

I regret nevertheless that you noticed the note in the pamphlet 
because it is generally conceived that tho' you shew the most capacity 
you have the worst of the argument — and it is here with many 
believed, that you are actually entered into an understanding with what 
is called the little band, this was not believed before your correspon- 
dence — and it requires something on your part to remove the impres- 
sion. I can conceive your impressions in the controversy — but nine 
out of ten cannot. It appears to me of little consequence whether you 
did or did not of a morning or an evening express an opinion — at the 
period in question — Every man at that time looked round and thought 
for himself upon what appeared to him the most likely to serve the 
general interests of the republic. And no man can be condemned if he 
was so unfortunate as to be misinformed. The question indeed must 
come to a different issue now. — for it is gone too far to be within the 
power of the healing art. The question will be " Has Mr. Jefferson 
fulfilled or disappointed the 'public expectations — or has he done what 
upon the whole is most for the honor and interest of the Republic." The 
decision on this question may be made without taking what are the 
merits of Mr. Burr into view at all. But it will not be done so. 
Another question will then arise. Shall Mr. Burr be preferred to Mr. 
Jefferson'? This will involve the discussion which has been already 
protruded on the public — and the occurrence of which I have lamented 
and still lament. 

I have not nevertheless, been without my opinion — nor have I been 
without solid reasons for the formation of one — which this is not the 
time to state — but I will state my opinions leaving the reasons to that 
period when it may be necessary to make them public (I hope it never 
may). But my opinion is that Mr. Jefferson has fulfilled the trust 
reposed in him to the public advantage and his own honor. 



276 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

I think Mr. Burr ought not to be preferred — nor put in competition 
with Mr. Jefferson. I could give you such solid reasons as might 
perhaps surprise you — reasons personally known to me and communi- 
cated to a feio only that I may be exonerated from improper motives in 
my withholding them from the public now. My wish was to prevent 
any schism — or at least the appearance of it — I could not prevent it, 
but this was owing greatly to the incurable indiscretion of a young man 
named Davis in N. York — who being refused a lucrative office in 
N. Y. has been the cause of the explosion. Davis has just addressed 
an impertinent letter to me, which I shall answer in a way that will 
surprize him, and if he has only the indiscretion to publish it, I must at 
once enter the field against Mr. Burr. I am under no obligation to 
one or the other — I never asked one or the other a favor. Mr. J. 
never tendered one, Mr. B. did — and I refused. So at least I stand 
independent of favor. In fact I am under no obligation to any man in 
America in any way that ought to control my opinion or bias my judg- 
ment. If I depended upon anything but my own activity and prin- 
ciples, I should have been left in the Slough of party long ago, trodden 
upon, and like my predecessor forgotten. My independence is my 
pride — and you saw enough of my domestic concerns to perceive that 
I am not the most miserable man in the world. In this state all con- 
fidence in Mr. B. is gone. Governor McKean is the man talked of as 
the future republican candidate for V. P. no other has been talked of, 
notwithstanding what has been said in the papers. Persons here who 
wish Mr. B. will have suffered in their popularity by defending Mr. B. 
and an argument used for encouraging an evening newspaper in Phila- 
delphia in opposition to mine, was that I was not decided against Mr. B. 
This did not shake my sentiments, as I am too well accustomed to 
things of this kind to mistake their effect or intention. Anything you 
chuse to write me on this subject shall be sacred. What I write you, 
you will perceive is an evidence of my respect & confidence in you. 

Yours sincerely. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Frankford, Oct? 18, 1802. 

Sir, — The bustle attendant on our election affairs here will I hope 
excuse the delay of three days since the receipt of your letter. Upon 
the receipt of the Instructions concerning the Books from London and 
Paris, I immediately addressed the originals to Messrs. Johnson in Lon- 
don and Pougens in Paris, with Duplicates of each in my handwriting 
to Mr. Erving and Short, directing the Booksellers to call on those 
Gentlemen. I fear the removal of Mr. Short may retard the business 

i Jeff. MSS. 



^- 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 277 

at Paris ; the business in London is in a fair train, as I have had a 
letter from rny correspondent there, within the present month. I shall 
take the first occasion that presents itself to address Mr. Pougens 
again ; tho' 1 have no doubt that from your note, independent of the 
confidence which he has already manifested in me that the order will 
be duly executed, even if he should not have thought it advisable to 
apply to Mr. Livingston. 

Our elections in Pennsylvania generally are as they ought to be. 
Some unhappy misunderstandings have secretly existed which alarmed 
many and portended some injurious consequences. The evil has, how- 
ever, been in this county and the City completely checked ; tho at the 
expence of a good man's feelings. I mean Dr. Logan. No man 
esteems him more than I do, but he was the true instigator of the late 
divisions in the county, and I am afraid it may yet come to an 
unpleasant issue. I have kept his name out of View, but I had written 
evidence of his being the cause of the dissention ; the consequences if 
not thwarted might have been fatal through the State. 

The jealousy among the principal republicans here requires a most 
vigilant attention. Unfortunately while I am endeavoring to check 
it, I am exciting the ill will of men whom I love, merely because I do 
not suffer myself to be led aside from a great public interest to the 
views of one or another individual. 

The following is an outline of our leading men's dispositions towards 
each other — and these five may be said to hold the principal weight. 

1. Mr. Dallas. Offended with 2, unreservedly opposed to 4, cold 
to 3 and 5. 

2. Dr. Logan. Violently hostile to 1 ; Do. 3 and 5 ; good under- 
standing with 4. 

3. Dr. Leib. Hostile to 2 ; familiar with 1 and 4 ; common cause 
with 5. 

4. Mr. Cox[e]. Estranged but willing to be friends with 1 ; friends 
with 2 ; familiar and friendly with 3 and 5. 

5. Mr. Muhlenberg. Friendly with all, but displeased with 2, and 
rather distant than familiar with 4. 

I am sorry to say that no actual cause of jealousy exists with founda- 
tion between them, but what is wholly political. Each of them in one 
way or another considers his neighbor a rival ! and the loss of any 
one of them would be to us a very serious evil. The Judiciary busi- 
ness had very nearly destroyed Mr. Dallas, the late Address has I 
think removed a great portion of the odium of that measure. Dr. 
Logan looks to the governmental chair at the next election ; but I fear 
his attacks upon Mr. Dallas and Dr. Leib, will shut him out from 
every hope of that kind. Indeed Nos. 1, 3 and 4 are the fully efficient 
men with us. Dr. Logan without the aid of the rest could do nothing; 



278 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Mr. Muhlenberg by his strength of character and influence among the 
Germans possesses a great weight, and this Leib shares with him ; but 
Mr. Dallas and Mr. Coxe, who are the most capable men as writers, 
possess severally a great influence in the city and country. It were 
much to be wished they could be reconciled, for obvious reasons. The 
next two years will require all our strength of talents and activity, and 
Mr. Burr I make no doubt is laboring to assail every man's passions 
who he may conceive of weight, or likely to go into the erection of a 
third party. 

From the rising young men we have not much to expect ; Mr. Dick- 
erson is the only one who is decidedly republican that displays talents. 
In the late County discussions he has been silent, knowing the interest 
which his friend Dr. Logan took in the affair. Young Mr. Sergeant, 
the Commissioner of Bankrupts, associates wholly with the opposition 
party and barely says he is a republican ; he possesses talents, but they 
are of no public use but in his law pursuits ; young Richard Bache 
( Benjamin's younger brother) possesses talents, but he is yet a student 
with Mr. Dallas ; there are about four other young men lawyers who 
do not display any capacity for public affairs. The Value of such men 
as Mr. Dallas and Mr. Coxe, and Mr. Dickerson is not to be lightly 
estimated, considering that all the lawyers at the bar here are men of 
much weight as members of society and property, and as they threaten 
to bring out unprecedented efforts against the next presidential election. 

Sitgreaves will not succeed in Montgomery. Conrad a stupid intrigu- 
ing mercenary of no sound political principle will be the member, to 
the exclusion of a man of worth and talents, Mr. Boileau. However, 
Conrad cannot do harm. 

I had written some time since a very long letter soliciting some 
hints to enable me to repel the monstrous calumnies of a wretch that 
deserves not to be named. 1 I was fearful of sending it directly, and 
delayed it until I gladly perceived the public resentment was roused 
against the Calumniator. Should there be any facts which may be 
used to throw the villainous aspersions into a still more odious light, 
I should wish to have them. I however propose about the close of this 
month to go to Washington City to look after my business there, as I 
find my clerk has been ill and the office wholly unemployed. 

The adverse party here now say they mean to give up further con- 
test, and to look on until they find us so effectually divided as to be 
enabled to step in and decide by joining the party which will euter into 
their views. This was expressed by Jacob Shoemaker, an influential 
Quaker in Philadelphia, who acted as one of the Inspectors of the 
Election. I am, etc. 

1 James Thomson Callender, who was now writing against Jefferson. 



1906.J LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 279 



To Jefferson} 

Pennsylvania Avenue, [Washington] Friday evening, 
27 November, 1802 

Sir, — My absence from home until this moment prevented my send- 
ing an answer to your note before. 

Young Cooper's name is Thomas Cooper — he appears to be about 
22 years old. 

Lacretelle's book I have not here but have written for it by mail to 
Philadelphia, and requested it to be sent by some private hand. 

Paine's third letter gives me considerable uneasiness, he has in fact 
commenced the subject of the Age of Reason in it. I have tried every 
effort of which I am capable to persuade him against it, but nothing 
will operate on him. I have fairly told him that he will be deserted by 
the only party that respects or does not hate him, that all his political 
writings will be rendered useless, and even his fame destroyed ; but he 
silenced me at once by telling me that Dr. Rush at the period when 
he commenced Common Sense told him, that there were two words 
which he should avoid by every means as necessary to his own safety 
and that of the public, — Independence and Republicanism, 
With respect, yours faithfully 

To Madison. 

Philadelphia, Aug. 3 d , 1803 

Sir, — In consequence of a conversation with a member of Congress 
who lately left Washington, I am induced to take the liberty of ad- 
dressing you, to request, (if you judge it proper) a copy of Lord Hawkes- 
bury's answer to Mr. King's note concerning Louisiana. I feel very often 
the extreme want of some leading information, upon which I could rely 
in rebutting the incessant attacks of the papers adverse to the Govern- 
ment; I believe this inconvenience to be very generally felt among the 
republican prints. If any mode could be adopted by which some of the 
papers, to which the public look for correct information and vigorous 
discussion, could be made acquainted occasionally with such facts as 
may not be improper to be known, the effect on the public mind I am 
persuaded would be beneficial, and the mortification and uncertainty in 
which Editors who are attached to the principles of the Government 
and its administration would be rendered less painful. I know that so 
far as it concerns myself, I feel my situation much more irksome and 
discouraging as an Editor than when my life was in hourly danger and 
my only source of information was from the blunders or the audacity of 
those who were in power. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



280 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [MAT, 

I hope, Sir, you will excuse this liberty on account of the motive. 
I am, with great respect Sir, 

Your obedt Ser f . 
W M Duane, Editor of Aurora. 



Circular Letter to U. S. Senators. 

Washington City, October 14th, 1803. 

Sir, — I take the liberty of soliciting your countenance and good 
offices, in favor of my application for the printing of the Journals of 
the honorable Senate. Three years since, upon the invitation and per- 
suasion of distinguished republicans, I established here a printing office 
adequate to the execution of any quantity or any kind of printing, and 
have executed a part of the work for Congress, to general satisfaction. 
Circumstances did not admit of the fulfilment of the purposes of my 
friends, with regard to the printing for the Senate, and the Journals 
have been hitherto printed by a person of adverse politics, with whom 
however, I did not think it delicate to be a competitor before this 
period. 

The distribution of this business is in the hands of the Secretary of 
the Senate, under some control from the Vice President. 
I am, Sir, your obedient Servant. 

To Madison. 

W m Duane's respects to M r Maddison — Sends a paper in which there 
is an article, that it may be proper he should see — the same information 
is stated in other papers of N York of not so hostile a character as the 
N York Gazette. 

W m D. would have waited on M r Maddison before now, but was 
desirous not to intrude while there was likely to be any interruption 
of other company and on the Subject of Spanish affairs he refrained 
rather from saying any thing than endanger any erroneous or premature 
discussion. 

Aug. 10, 1805. 

To Madison. 

Aug. 27, 1805 
With W m Duane's respects to M r Maddison 

Francis Prueil, a French merchant connected with the Spanish Am- 
bassador in many transactions, has recently applied to a tinman in this 
city to make a lantern such as is used in the Service of Artillery by 
night ; one was made, and it is understood that a large number more 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 281 

are to be made. The Tinman suspecting that they might be intended 
for some purpose hostile to the U. S. has hesitated whether he ought to 
execute them — and would not if there were to be any reason to con- 
firm his suspicions ; he advised with me, and I have told him he ought 
to go on, so that their direction may be the more easily detected or 
traced. As it is impossible for me to determine what opinion ought to 
be informed on this subject, I thought it best to apprize you of it, and 
should any steps be necessary to be made on the subject, I am sure the 
man would aid. I have not however intimated to any one that I have 
taken this step — as after all it may be of no moment. 

Madison to Duane. 

J. M. pres ts his respects to M r D. & in answer to his note of yester- 
day evening, observes that he is not acquainted with any circumstances 
denoting that the Artillery Lanterns on which the Tinman is employed, 
may have a hostile reference to the U. States, or justifying an interposi- 
tion in any form ag st the prosecution of the Job. Should the suspicions 
entertained by the Tinman have any real foundation the course which 
occurred to M r D. seems favorable to the requisite discoveries. 

Philad*. Aug. 28. 

To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, March 12, 1806 
Respected Sir, — For a considerable time reports very injurious to 
the public interest have been in circulation, in this city and in different 
parts of the State. The sentiments of the people have on no occasion 
been so strongly markfed] by sullen discontent, and public confidence 
has been very much shaken, by the reports in question. The peculiar 
situation in which I am placed is far from being grateful or desirable ; 
the correspondence which I had been accustomed to maintain at the 
seat of government being interrupted by my pecuniary affairs and the 
necessity of attending on courts of law here ; and none of the members 
of this district nor of the State, have condescended to communicate by 
a single line during the present session. Destitute of any other chart 
or land marks than those of common sense and my reliance on the 
purity of your views, I have continued unmoved by rumour or by even 
more authoritative inducements in my confidence and love of you. 

I should not have addressed you on this occasion, did not the reports 
in circulation appear to me as working effects the most pernicious to 
the public interest and to your reputation particularly. Painful as it 
is, it is fit nevertheless that you should not be ignorant of what is of 

1 Jeff. MSS. 



282 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

so much concern, and men in elevated situations are more frequently 
deceived and flattered than correctly and candidly informed. As self- 
interest has no share in this step, I persuade myself it will not be offen- 
sive ; the reports already operate very unpleasantly on those who have 
been active in the political transactions of the last ten years particularly. 

It is said here — that you have thrown yourself into the arms of a 
New England party, and given them your exclusive confidence ; that 
the sturdy and independent republicans of the South are treated by you 
with coldness, and reserve. 

It is said in corroboration — that Mr. J. Randolph has openly at- 
tacked your administration, and censured the measures proposed by the 
administration to Congress. 

In other quarters it is alleged — that there is only one member of 
your Cabinet (Mr. Madison) who is not opposed to you — that the 
Secretary of the Navy in concert with his brother traverses all your 
measures concerning naval and commercial affairs. That the Secy, of 
the Treasury conducts his department in such a way as to evince a dis- 
approbation of your policy ; and the first report of his on the finances 
and the proposition for paying off the debt, while your message indi- 
cated vigorous measures of defence, is represented as a satire on your 
message : that the Secretary at War, secretly governed by the Post- 
master General, acts equally adverse, tho' under different views and 
professions : that all these differing in particular views from each other, 
yet cooperate upon some general principles which obstruct your best 
measures, and that between all these inferior combinations the execu- 
tive measures are frustrated and public confidence palsied. 

Another report says that you have broken with the Secy, of the 
Treasury, and that he is not consulted by you and that he proposes to 
resign. 

Another report has been stated from a very influential source — 
that the business of the Executive is conducted like the Cabinet of St. 
James — a concealed influence and an ostensible Cabinet — that there 
is a public profession and a concealed counteraction of that profession. 

From another quarter, and I saw it in writing, addressed to a gentle- 
man in this city, and it is gone abroad, it is alleged in strong and posi- 
tive terms, that you have unreservedly denounced the republicans who 
are deemed the most ardent, by the injurious epithet of Jacobins ; that 
you have made a declaration similar to that of Govr. McKean that you 
would in future appoint to office none but the moderate men of both 
parties ; that in a word you had avowed an unqualified preference and 
predilection of those who are called third party men or Quids. 

It is now in active circulation here and has been for some days, that 
the expedition of Miranda, was previously known to and countenanced 
by you and by Mr. Madison ; this was circulated upon authority which 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 283 

was represented as official, and declared to have been so avowed by an 
officer of the government. This story excited such a ferment at the 
Coffeehouse, that I considered as a duty to trace it to its source. I 
traced it to Mr. Joseph Priestly of Northumberland, who narrated it 
to Mr. Ab. Small bookseller, as coming from Mr. Dallas, who Mr. 
Priestly said believed it, and who he declared had said that republican- 
ism was at an end, and that Mr. Jefferson and Mr, Madison would be 
both impeached. Mr. Small and myself discredited the story, but Mr. 
Edwd Fox related it also as coming from Mr. Dallas. The story was 
told in a manner to excite attention and to shape incredulity. It was 
alleged, that Miranda had brought a letter from an English under Secy 
of State to Mr. Rufus King, and that Miranda was to engage ships in 
the U. S. who were to cooperate with Sir Howe Popham against South 
America; that Mr. King communicated the whole to the Secy, of 
State — that Miranda was received and countenanced thereupon — that 
the prosecution at New York was only a cover, and that when Mr. 
Sandford was examining Mr. R. King, that Mr. Sandford put the word 
unauthorized by Government — instead of authorized in Mr. King's 
evidence, and that Mr. K. detected it, and that Sandford burnt the 
evidence in consequence. The effect of such a report may be easily 
conceived, but the concern which it excited among those who love you 
and had not strength of mind to resist it is not to be described. 

I have taken upon me in every instance, (relying for my belief upon 
my opinion of your wisdom and goodness of heart,) to contradict all 
these rumours and to dissipate them in every manner as far as I was 
able. Circumstanced as I am, my situation as a politician and a citizen 
has been extremely irksome, and it occurred to me that the only service 
I could do you would be to make you acquainted with rumours which 
produced consequences nearly as pernicious as if they had any founda- 
tion. The interest of America, the stability of Republican Government, 
and the glory of your own life, appear to me to depend upon the dis- 
sipation of doubts and the course which you will pursue in your admin- 
istration henceforward. The uncertainty which has prevailed during 
the Session of Congress, has the common tendency in such occasions, 
to be transferred from the divisible mass to the individual head of the 
government, and the enemies of liberty and false friends find an interest 
in propelling human passion in that path. 

I have now done what I conceive to be a duty, arising from the venera- 
tion and love I feel for you, and under convictions that no sentiment [or] 
motive [of] an interested nature either actuate or can be charged upon 
me on this or on any other political occation; and with an assurance that 
if it were a case of peril or hazard, that I should come forward on your 
behalf with more alacrity than I do in the present instance. It is not my 
object to communicate this, nor have I consulted any human being on the 



284 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

subject — and I neither claim any credit nor apprehend any censure 
from you for the act ; because if I have mistaken the line of propriety, 
I am assured of an excuse in your liberality ; and the intention will be 
considered in place of the act. 

I require no answer, because the satisfaction of knowing that you are 
not offended I shall obtain on my going to the seat of Government 
after the courts here close; and if I have offended I shall know it too 
soon at any time. If haply I have done right, and that any communi- 
cation from an observing and faithful friend should be agreeable in 
future I would not hesitate; for I very much fear that there has been 
too much treachery and deception practiced towards you by persons in 
this quarter. If such communication should not be acceptable, the cir- 
cumstance can make no alteration in my principles, for I shall be under 
all circumstances your affectionate and faithful friend. 

To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, Novr. 2d, 1806. 

Respected Sir, — Sometime since during your sojournment at 
Monticello, I forwarded you the loose sheets of a pamphlet in the 
Spanish language, which I had printed secretly. The accompanying 
affidavit will explain how I came to print it, under what impressions, 
and for whom. As I am not competent to translate Spanish, and the 
conduct of the Spanish ambassador here had been so disreputable to his 
mission, I conceived it to be my duty to forward you that pamphlet, in 
order that if it should contain any matter that might serve the govern- 
ment of my country it should be possessed thereof. Indeed the ac- 
companying affidavit expresses my sentiments and rule of action so 
explicitly that with the knowledge you already possess of me, my 
motives and conduct will require no explanation ; further than to ac- 
count for the affidavit of which I send a copy. 

It appears from the representation of Mr. Magdalena to me, that 
Yrujo has sent charges to Spain against him — Magdalena, and among 
other things he has alleged that I had published in my paper certain 
facts which being known to no other person in this country but himself 
(Yrujo) and Magdalena, those facts must have been communicated to 
me by the latter. Upon this charge Yrujo has undertaken to suspend 
the functions of Magdalena, who applied to me to declare the truth 
whether or not I have ever had any information from him. The 
affidavit is accordingly drawn up and Magdalena, desirous to give weight 
as much as possible to the evidence which he brings to exculpate him- 
self from Yrujo's accusation, has prescribed the mode of introduction 
which you will see in the affidavit, as to my commission in the militia 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 285 

and my religious education ; as I do not set any value on the titles and 
as my education has not closed up my understanding, I could not re- 
fuse to render him a service by an acquiescence in the use of facts that 
are true. This explanation of the introductory form I deem due to 
myself, lest it should be presumed, that I was so lost to good sense as 
to be vain or superstitious. 

I am at a loss to discover what the facts are which Yrujo complained 
of as divulged to me. Accustomed to speculate in political affairs 
below the mere surface, it appears that I must have penetrated the 
Spanish mysteries of State. Your eminent situation may perhaps enable 
you to judge what the secret really is ; for tho' it seems I discovered it, 
it remains a secret to me to this moment ; for I have attempted to 
anticipate so many things that unless it is the suggestion of a secret 
understanding between Spain & Great Britain, I cannot recollect any 
fact of sufficient moment to excite so much anger and apprehension. 

I have endeavored in the affidavit to say as much in corroboration 
of the general sentiment of the country against Yrujo as my knowledge 
and truth justifies. 

Magdalena means to send my original affidavit and that of my son to 
Spain ; he says Yrujo has sent orders to all the agents of Spain in the 
United States not to forward any despatches for him to Spain; he told 
me he placed so much confidence in your private virtues and generosity 
that he would request to have it transmitted to some of the American 
Consuls in Spain. 

I printed six copies of the Spanish pamphlet with the purpose that 
if it should prove useful to the government to place a copy in the hands 
of our ambassadors or Consuls in Spain or France that they might be 
had — if they can be of any such use, they shall be forwarded. 

On political transactions of a domestic nature I do not mean to tres- 
pass on you. My opinions and sentiments on particular men and circum- 
stances I know cannot be agreeable to you, tho' from my soul I believe 
that in so doing I am acting more faithful to my attachment to you, 
than if I forbore from scotching the snakes that trouble your path. I 
have no favor to ask, nor motive for uttering my sentiments of any 
public men, but public motives ; and if I should be mistaken, in any 
particular, the mistake will be my own, for I am neither to be led nor 
driven from the path of principle. 

There is a pamphlet in the press of S. F. Bradford in this city. It 
is an attack on your administration ; the proofs are sent to Jersey for 
revisal, and I suspect go farther on. It is proper to be apprised of this, 
because it seems to be intended to make an impression on the open- 
ing of Congress. If furnished with suitable material I would at once 
reply to it, and shall endeavor to procure one of the first copies to 
send you. 



^— — " .11 



286 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Excuse Respected Sir, this among the many trespasses I have made 
on you — the motive if estimated as I feel will fully gratify me. With 
respect 

Permit me to ask the return of the affidavits &c, as I have no other 
copy and it may be proper to be possessed of a copy lest Yrujo on his 
return to Spain should misrepresent and send the misrepresentation 
here. I do not require any other answer, as your time must be amply 
engaged. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Philadelphia, Novr. 4th, 1806 

Sir, — The rumors in circulation here, concerning disturbances in 
Kentucky have excited a very strong sensation. It will be of some 
importance by some means to settle the public feeling on the subject. 
The whole country will be with you if there is any actual exigency. 
If there is not the administration may derive great advantage from a 
seasonable counteraction of the alarm. 

Judging it not impossible that there may be some disturbance, should 
my services in any situation for which my habits and cast of mind may 
fit me, be required, I make a respectful tender of them to you. I seek 
no office of emolument, all I wish is to be placed in such a situation as 
that I may be able to render public effective service. I am, &e. 

To Jefferson. 2 

Philadelphia, November 16, 1806. 

Respected Sir, — The enclosed is a literal copy of a communica- 
tion made to me. The author I do not know, but the subject appears 
to me of too much importance not to be put in your possession, as I 
conceive my duty to my country cannot justify me in withholding from 
the Magistrate whose duty and evident wishes are to preserve its 
honor, peace and prosperity. I do not wish for any answer. I only 
send it as I have expressed it, from a sense of duty — and shall do so 
should any further communication be made as is promised. 

With the utmost respect, &c. 

— to Duane. s 



(Literal Copy.) Michigan territory, 16 Oct? 1806. 

Mr. Duane, — The following broken hints are communicated, not 
to be published by any means, nor even shewn to any person, but 
merely to possess you of facts transpiring in a certain part of the 

i Jeff. MSS. 2 Jeff. MSS . 

3 This paper is in Duane's writing. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 287 

western world, that you may compare them with other things which 
may come in your way ; and should you allude to them, or any part of 
them, it must be done intirely in your own way and language. More 
will be furnished as things proceed. The writer would have no objec- 
tion to giving you his name, if the risk of transportation were not so 
great. 

In June, 1805, Gov r Hull came first to Michigan territory. Win. 
Kettletas of N York was in company, who met him at Fort Erie, a 
British post opposite Buffalo creek. K. proceeded to Michilimackinac, 
and from thence to St. Louis, and became an inmate of Gen! Wilkin- 
son's family, by whom, it is said, he was appointed Att^ Gen! of Louis- 
iana, and is expected to return to that territory the present season. 

Judge Woodward (at present senior judge of Michigan) came up 
thro' the State of Ohio. This man is a perfect Quid in politics, laughs 
at patriots and patriotism ; wishes never to see another political news- 
paper, was converted soon after his arrival, to the Roman Catholic or 
Canadian religion, and withal appears ambitious beyond measure ; and 
if a judgment may be formed from several things which have been 
transacted by him, is ready to stick at nothing to accomplish his 
views. Governor H. has been unfortunate in the Yazoo business, and 
generally supposed to be ruined, unless some new enterprise can save 
him. 

Matthew Ernest met the governor on the British Shore, upon his 
arrival, took him to his house, and became a most intimate, almost 
indispensable companion. This Ernest is brother-in-law of Gen! 
Wilkins of Pittsburg, and came to Detroit as commissary, and was a 
close friend of Gen! Wilkinson. Tho' he first failed in the Commissary 
line, yet under Wilkinson his house became wonderfully replenished 
with plate and rich furniture, and he lived in the highest stile. He 
was appointed also collector of the Customs at Detroit, from which he 
was removed in 1805, for some malconduct in respect to the revenue. 
[Mr. Duncan was collector of Michilimackinac, not Detroit.] Ernest 
mysteriously departed for Kentucky about ten weeks after the Gover- 
nor's arrival, leaving his family at Petroit, and carried with him about 
$8,000 of the public money remaining in his hands as collector ; for 
which suits are now going on against his estate and sureties. Previous 
to his departure he was made by the Governor treasurer of the terri- 
tory, and Colonel in the Militia. Other principal military offices have 
been given to known monarchists, and friends of Britain, to the no 
small chagrin of some republicans of merit. From the period that 
Col. Ernest left the territory, till the present, not a syllable has been 
publicly known here concerning him, which is now more than a year. 
Not a letter has arrived by mail, superscribed in his handwriting, tho' 
several in that of others addressed to him and family. He went from 



288 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Kentucky to N. York, about the time Miranda fitted out there, and is 
generally thought to have been embarked with him. It is by some 
imagined that Mr. Duncan has done the same, who carried away 
30,000 $ or more of the public money. 

Colonel Smith, of* N. York (the same concerned in fitting out 
Miranda) pretends to possess a claim to an immense tract of land in 
Michigan territory. Gov' H. was applied to by the said Smith to 
become a sharer in the same ; but it is not known whether he did or 
not. 

A law was passed by the Govf and judge W. to enable Aliens to 
acquire, hold and transfer real estate in the territory of Michigan, as 
freely and on the same principles as a citizen of the U. States. Judge 
Bates (the only associate judge present at the time) entered a protest 
against this law. 

It has been and is freely advanced by some men in Michigan, (of no 
small consequence, and among them some of the garrison) that the 
American territory is too large for a single government, that the 
interest of the widely extended parts cannot be properly regulated by 
one body of men, &c. 

The closest intimacy has been cultivated on the part of the Governor 
and the officers of the American garrison, with the British officers and 
leading men on the Canadian shore : splendid feasts, balls and visita- 
tions have been very frequently exchanged. Aid has been lent from the 
American garrison to assist British officers in hunting their deserters on 
the American territory, and committing violence and outrage on the 
citizens. And when those officers have been arraigned as offenders 
before our highest court, they have been permitted to wear their swords 
in the court, and have lived in the utmost splendor in our garrison, and 
at the Governor's table, while prisoners for the most outrageous 
breaches of the peace. A preference is given by the Gov^ to the 
counsels of the British commander respecting the Indians in our neigh- 
bourhood and territory, their instructions, designs, &c, above the 
counsels of the most experienced American citizens. 

An unaccountable assurance amounting to the total exclusion oj 
doubt is possessed by the Governor and Judge W[oodward] that the 
Indians will never again molest the frontier settlements, not even in 
case of a war between America and England. They have answered 
to those who have disbelieved this, that such inhuman policy will be 
henceforth discarded by Great Britain ! The Governor's proceedings 
in respect to the Militia of the territory, and in stile with these assur- 
ances ; for he is training and uniforming them apparently more for 
fighting regular enemies than Indians, more for the field than the bush. 
The proper defensive works against Indians he appears to think very 
lightly of, and holds them unnecessary. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 289 

In Oct 1 : J 805 the Gov r and judge W[oodward] departed together for 
the States. Both at that time said it was uncertain whether they should 
return to Michigan any more. They went via N. York to Washington 
and were there at the session of Congress. I believe immediately after 
the question on the Yazoo claims was decided, the former left Wash- 
ington for Boston. The latter still remained at Washington where he 
continued some time after Congress rose. At Boston a number of men 
(supposed to be Yazoo claimants) suddenly formed themselves into a 
banking company for the purpose of establishing a bank at Detroit. 
They filled up most of the shares, leaving a few only to be taken in Michi- 
gan territory. In June last the Gov' came from Boston to Detroit, bring- 
ing with him some brass field pieces, and a quantity of arms, cutlasses, 
pistols, &c, with orders to draw muskets from the public arsenal, all 
for the use of the militia. He also brought materials for building, and 
soon set about erecting a house, or rather palace, which is now pro- 
gressing and will cost from 10 to 15,000 $. A profound silence reigns 
relative to the defeat of the Yazoo claims. Those claims at his departure 
last fall were a topic of conversation. In July, the Cashier pi the pro- 
posed Bank came on from Boston, with his family, bringing part of the 
specie, with irons, &c, ready made to proceed upon the building of a 
banking house. He soon proceeded to erect an expensive building be- 
fore any law had passed to establish the bank, or even a legislative 
board were present, for Judge W[oodward] had not yet arrived, and 
Judge Griffin had never been in the territory. All went on in the 
strongest manner without any question either of permission or of success. 
In August two or three other principal owners of shares came on from 
Boston (among them one Nathaniel Parker) bringing still more specie. 
In company with these Judge Woodward arrived, having been absent 
almost eleven months. Several active young gentlemen also came, 
and are still coming, from that quarter, who are patronized by the 
Governor and fill every place of any profit in his gift. Some are yet 
without business. 

The first act of the legislative board, after Judge W[oodward] ar- 
rived, was to establish the bank by law. Not a little to the surprize 
of the citizens, the law admits a capital in specie of One Million of 
dollars, with liberty to extend branches wherever the directors please ! 
Such an immense deposit of cash in this western world appear to most 
people a paradox, which none can satisfactorily explain. The trade of 
this country is a barter of peltries for goods, and little cash is used. 
Some are bold enough to conjecture, that an object is in view threaten- 
ing to the Union of the States, especially as it is reported that other great 
deposits of cash are making in various parts of the Western World. 

The citizens of Detroit are now in considerable commotion, caused 
by a very singular attempt as they think, to oust them from their 

37 



290 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

dwellings which they built on the public domain (by permission of the 
board) after the destruction of the town by fire last summer. You will 
probably see a more particular account of this business which it is 
thought will be made public. It is conceived by some, that their 
houses are or will be wanted by Yazoo men, of whom it is said large 
numbers will come in next year, under the characters of farmers. 
Those from Boston, now here, say donations of land must be given 
them, to encourage them to come. The Governor and Judge 
W[oodward] obtained 10,000 acres by an act of Congress last winter, 
which is to-be at the disposal of the legislative board. It is to be ad- 
jacent to Detroit. Most of the farms in this territory are now under 
mortgage, and the mortgages will be lodged in the Bank for cash, by 
those who hold them. It is expected many of the old inhabitants will 
be obliged to quit leaving their homes and farms in the hands of the 
bankers. 

Gov. r Hull says that a Mr. Jackson a member of Congress from 
Virginia, a man of great talents and public virtue, is about removing into 
Michigan territory ; and that several other equally distinguished charac- 
ters are also expected to bend their course in the same direction. 

A Bill to amend an act entitled l - an act to divide the Indiana terri- 
tory into two separate governments, and for other purposes," was 
introduced into Congress last winter, by a committee of which the 
above Mr. Jackson was chairman : it was framed by Judge W[oodward] 
and proposes a material change in the government of Michigan con- 
ferring despotic power in certain instances, and calculated to repress 
and root out the present Secretary of the territory Mr. Griswold, 
whose strict republican principles and zeal for the preservation of the 
union of the States, is not fitted for their views, while he is in a situation 
to know the proceedings carried on, in public and private ; there are a 
few others equally obnoxious, but we are not so much exposed to the 
angry feelings of the speculating body as he is, and are beside totally 
independent of their power unless it be abused. The above bill passed 
the House of Representatives, but was laid over in Senate till next 
Session. This Bill with some remarks thereon, will probably be sent 
you before the next meeting of Congress. 

A law passed Congress last session, which excites some observation, 
by which the public land offices are forbidden to receive any more evi- 
dence of the public debt for lands hereafter to be sold, and are required 
to receive cash only. Where there is much fraud going on and very 
alarming rumours abroad, men are apt to be suspicious ; and there is 
more safety in a jealous vigilance than a too confident security. It is 
not therefore surprizing that many should conceive that the design of this 
measure (unknown and carefully concealed from Congress) is to assist 
the deposit of cash in the western world, against a great occasion. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 291 

A correspondence is going on between Judge W[oodward] (since his 
return) and some other unknown person or persons, at a distance, writ- 
ten in disguised letters, or using one letter for another, and on paper 
curiously stamp' d and stained upon the edges — but further discoveries 
on this subject are expected to be made. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phil. Dec. 8, 1806 

Respected Sir, — Had I not made the brief communication a few 
days since concerning Commodore Truxton's interview, I should not 
have deemed an anonymous article received through the Post office 
worthy of noting by letter, especially as it may be either well founded 
or malicious in its intention. I shall inclose the original note, and 
shall beg it to be returned as I may possibly trace the handwriting. 

Some circumstances that have come within my knowledge may tend 
perhaps to throw some light on other points. When Mr. Burr was in 
this city last year he lodged at Mr. Gardette's a Frenchman a dentist a 
very worthy man and I believe sincerely devoted to the happiness and 
interests of the United States. This person's son is a young man of 
talents, his education has a French cast, and he is an able draughtsman 
and musician ; this young man Mr. Burr took with him. The young 
man is now at home; but in the event of any evidence being required no 
doubt his would be important so far as he saw and drafted, for I do not 
suspect that he was ever apprised of Mr. Burr's designs. A brother of 
the elder Mr. Gardette arrived here about two years since from France ; 
he had been a captain in the French army, and had seen considerable 
service. He was bred a chintz pattern carver or engraver, and had made 
very considerable progress in arrangements for his business here ; suddenly 
a few months ago, perhaps about May or June, he discontinued that 
pursuit, and the first I heard of him was at Pittsburg, and his descend- 
ing the Ohio. The connection of the circumstances may possibly be 
accidental, but under the circumstances of the transactions in the West, 
little incidents of this nature may lead to more important developments. 
I do not know the name of this captain, or whether he uses the family 
name. 

Another incident has come within my knowledge. Two or three 
months ago, Mr. John Craig merchant in this city, applied to Messrs 
Binney and Ronaldson for types to a considerable amount, destined for 
Mexico, and calculated and cast for the Spanish language to the value of 
2,000 $. They understood that the person who ordered them was Mr. 
Fernandez (Note I have since seen the original Spanish order. The 
name is not the same exactly, it is Fernando. The merchant here is 
John Craig, at Baltimore a merchant of the name of Oliver). The 

i Jeff. MSS. 



292 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

name I recollect to be the same as that of a gentleman of considerable 
intelligence and impressive manners who was in several parts of the 
U. S. not long ago. But it may not be the same person. The circum- 
stance which struck me as deserving of notice in the case was, that the 
types being sent to Mr. Craig's on Monday (the day your proclamation 
arrived here,) Craig denied that he ordered them, and said the order 
came from Baltimore ; the letter containing the order is in the hands of 
Binney & Ronaldson, and it is addressed on the cover to John Craig, 
Esq. They conclude that the types were intended for the conspirators. 

Commodore Truxton called today again but being somewhat unwell 
I did not see him. But I think it fit to notice some of the conversation 
which he held on the former day. He appears to entertain a deadly 
hatred of Gen. Smith & Mr. R. Smith, and meditates a voluminous 
critical discussion on the " mismanagement " of the naval department. 
As I was not at all reserved in my profession of respect or dislike of 
men, he entered very largely into his "wrongs" and attributed them 
wholly to the enmity of the above gentlemen, and to a mercantile dis- 
pute »of a very remote date. He said that Mr. R. Smith had 
endeavored to impress Mr. Burr with an opinion that the " treatment " 
of Com. Truxton was wholly the act of the President, and that he 
Smith lamented and deplored it. But Truxton stated that now he was 
rather disposed to think that Burr was endeavoring to work upon his 
resentments with a view to enlist him in his enterprises " against 
Mexico", — that he believes Burr in professing to serve him and to take 
an interest in his case was deceiving him, and that while he was calling 
the two Smiths by the most execrable names, he was stimulating them 
to persevere in their proscription of him (Truxton). That from the 
amicable manner you had at first received him, he was persuaded the 
hostility did not proceed from you; and that some artifices must have 
been employed to deceive you between that period and the second time 
he waited on you, when he said you received him with studied coldness. 
This explanation of his discourse, it is but fit should accompany the 
anonymous note ; as it may be very possibly the act of an enemy of 
Truxton, though it certainly merits a cautious pursuit and inquiry, 
from the obvious connection of the parties, Dayton and Burr. 

I shall just beg leave to suggest, that many of your warmest and 
most devoted friends here conceive that some notification to the several 
states concerning the militia, or the first measures for providing a con- 
tingent to be organized upon a further call, would not only greatly 
serve the public interest but produce many other salutary effects, in 
promoting a disposition in the country to maintain some appearance of 
a constitutional militia. Maryland and Delaware being without any ; 
and in fact in this state, the Governor encourages every measure that 
can tend to dispirit or to retard an efficient organization. The tax is 






1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DtTANE. 293 

excessive on those who belong to uniformed corps, and the command of 
a regiment stands the commander in 200 or 300 dollars a year expense 
so lax is the system. This, however, I submit with deference. 

Extracts from a second communication from Michigan 22 October. 

" A bank is established at this place under the auspices of certain 
gentlemen of Boston, among whom are Russell Sturges, Nathaniel 
Parker, two Basses, one Coverley, one Wheeler, &c, &c. John Jacob 
Astor, of New York, and some others of that city, and elsewhere on 
the Atlantic coast, are concerned. By the law formerly noticed 
establishing this bank, it admits of a specie capital of a million of 
dollars, and branches may be extended to any other place at the discre- 
tion of the concern. Only 20,000 % are called in to begin with." 

Extracts from a third communication, 5 Novr. 

" You will receive a Bill by the mail that takes this from Detroit. 
That Bill is now pending in S. U. S. accompanying which will be also 
sent a Remonstrance of the Grand Jury of this territory against certain 
provisions therein. Had the Bill no other bearing than those merely 
local to the territory and government it is probable that you would not 
be asked to publish them. But many of us here and of the best 
informed sedate men consider from some provisions which it contains 
that it is calculated to facilitate a great nefarious and traitorous design 
now hatching in the Western country. 

" Mr. Jackson of Virginia noticed in a former communication was 
the chairman of the committee that framed the Bill, and from what I 
learn since I wrote before he is a very different character from what 
I then conceived. Governor Hull and Judge Woodward were at 
Wash n , when the bill was brought forward. Woodward it is said drew 
it up. Before those gentlemen left the territory in 1805, not a syllable 
was suggested of any necessity or design to alter the government of the 
territory. The project was hatched probably at Washington, and 
Woodward is said to have been very strenuous to push it through last 
session, that the business might be completed before any hint of it 
should transpire here where we were to be most affected by it. It 
failed in the Senate after passing the other house, an unlucky stroke 
for the Judge, a fortunate one for the people here. The governor on 
his return in June brought the first copy and the first knowledge that 
existed of the Bill in this territory. It was shewn only to a select few 
until the Judge arrived in September. Soon after the Supreme Court 
held a session, and a grand jury of the most respectable citizens from 
every part of the territory were summoned to attend. Judge Wood- 
ward among other things committed this Bill to their consideration and 
said it wanted only the approbation of the Grand Jury to pass the 



294 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

U. S. Senate, which Congress would consider as the sense of the 
territory. He recommended that if they were in its favor they should 
so report, if they disapproved a report was not necessary. He was 
careful however not to commit his charge to writing. The G. Jurors 
read the Bill with astonishment, and reported their candid sentiments 
to the court. At an adjourned session soon after they took it up again 
and a Remonstrance which will be sent you was the result of their 
unanimous deliberation and vote. 

" In the obnoxious provisions of the Bill beside private objects, the 
meditated aggrandizement of the Judge has excited much indignation ; 
there are two other objects that I shall particularly point out to you. 
because they bear upon the nefarious and traitorous conspiracy before 
alluded to — at least in case such a design be in operation, of which 
none of the intelligent men here doubt. 

" First. As the essential mark of despotism is manifestly borne on 
the provisions regarding the change of this territorial government, it 
appears to have been intended to try the republicanism and spirit of 
the people in this quarter, to see whether they possessed a substantial 
regard for principles or whether they might not be led passively to 
follow a despot and engage in any undertaking, however flagitious, 
desperate or destructive of their own freedom or the happiness of 
America; and finally to see how they might relish an imperial or 
royal government, should such an one be set up west of the mountains, 
or possibly the British government should it [be] thought necessary to 
give G. Britain a slice of this fur trade and peltry country (with its 
inhabitants) for assisting to dismember the union. 

" Second. I perceive that among its objects was the present secretary 
of the territory, a Mr. Griswold, and a direct attack on him by one of 
the prime movers strengthens this idea ; he has stood aloof from them 
with a cautious but not offensive reserve ; yet the distance he appears 
to keep is alarming to them, and his opportunities in his situation are 
such as to disconcert them very much, especially as the best and 
worthiest men here place confidence in him; and if the design of 
dismembering the union should unfold itself further, he might be a 
serious obstacle to their designs ; besides it is his duty to act as gover- 
nor under particular emergencies, and if there should be any miscon- 
duct in any officer towards the union however high we confide in his 
arresting him. A young man of the name of Watson from Boston 
arrived here soon after the Governor in June. He declared that he 
came to be Secretary of the territory, and that his business here was 
that and waited here for that alone. 

"Another curious fact. After Judge Woodward found what the 
grand jury had done with his Bill, and that they were about to transmit 
their remonstrance, he fell upon the expedient of summoning as Colonel 



•1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 295 

of the first Regt. of militia, two delegates from each militia company, 
to meet him in convention, to take into consideration (as he expressed 
it in his circular) " the state of public affairs " ; it is supposed for the 
purpose of obtaining somebody to recommend his bill. The convention 
is to be held a few days hence, but he will effect nothing except morti- 
fication to himself. Indeed he has fairly out-intrigued himself in this 
territory, on the bench and in the legislative board where it is too true 
[he] is both ridiculous and odious. The Citizens at a large and respec- 
table meeting lately voted that he ought to be impeached and removed. 
How far they will proceed with this I know not, but a committee 
has been appointed to address Congress on the subject. 

" The Governor has shown a disposition to retract, so far as he has 
had concern in the intrigues and practices now so much condemned by 
the citizens ; which has to appearance created a breach between him 
and the judge. 

11 If there be a design on foot to dismember the Union there are many 
of us here ready to resist and with means to expose and defeat it, with 
proper precautions. Knowing your fidelity and honor, I leave to you 
to make the proper use of the information I communicate, and what 
ought and what ought not to be published." 

Deer. 26, 1806 

Since the receipt of the above a debilitating rather than a serious 
indisposition prevented me from closing and forwarding the above. 
Another letter from the same quarter of the five Novr. encloses an 
extraordinary letter addressed to the Legislative Board by Judge 
Woodward. As it does not relate so much to general as to local 
affairs, and is a most extravagant and intemperate act for a man in 
such a station,, I do not send a copy unless it should be of any use. 
The copy I have is authenticated by Peter Anderson, Secy, of the 
Govr and Judges. 

I took the liberty of suggesting in the preceding sheet the feelings 
and wishes of your warmest friends, and of the soundest principles, 
concerning the Militia; the policy even were it only to keep the militia 
spirit awake and the people conscious of their own rights and importance, 
the declarations of men in the regular military service, too plainly in- 
dicate the danger from large military establishments ; men educated in a 
profession wish to exercise it — and thank God our country and policy 
are not such as is calculated to promote standing armies or war ; an 
organization of the state contingent would at least in this state produce 
the most salutary effects. That I do not look to anything personal 
(except trouble and expense) is obvious because as Colonel of the best 
regiment in the State, I am as high as I could go under the present 
reign, and should rather prefer to command my company than my 



296 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

regiment if it were not for the political use that my submitting to the 
drudgery of acting as colonel and even as adjutant and sergeant major 
of the corps. The duty however gives me better ideas of matters which 
I find useful as an Editor. 

I could wish that the chief of the conspiracy could be seized, with 
20 men whom I could select, and properly provided with each a good 
horse and close arms, I think I could bring him to Washington, and 
would cheerfully undertake it. 

As the tone I have maintained in the Aurora on the Non Importa- 
tion law and British affairs, may not be understood as I conceive and 
intend them, I think it incumbent on me to state the principles upon 
which I act. In the first place I am convinced in my soul that noth- 
ing is to be expected by the U. S. from G. Britain on the score of. 
justice or right. That all must be the effect of her fears, her interests, 
or her dangers. 

This alone would be sufficient ; but the conduct of all the agents 
(particularly of Bond here) is so gross and indecorous, that the popular 
Scourge cannot be too severely laid upon him. The agents and emis- 
saries take their tone from these official men. And it is due to the 
country that their deceptious course independent of their virulence 
against the government, should be repelled. I feel some gratification 
in perceiving the effect produced by the incessant fire I have kept upon 
them during my recent indisposition. 

On the other hand a strong motive with me is to afford the govern- 
ment a countervailing argument against the complaints which the min- 
ister of France may make (knowing what his master made before 
against the Aurora) I disdain the idea of the tyrant, who has super- 
seded by his power the liberty of France ; but as he is upon equal terms 
with the combined powers, as a politician he must be judged on equal 
terms with them. Beside if there could be any danger from him, and 
there may be at least inconvenience and much evil use made of any 
complaint which he might make, I have conceived it to be my duty 
seeing that the Aurora has considerable repute, to take up the subject 
in such a way as shall without committing a single principle of national 
honor or right, give at least so much assurance as a single Gazette can 
give that the abuse of France and its chief is not the act either of the 
administration nor the sentiment of the people. The same sentiment 
induced me to dwell on the Non Importation act, and to disapprove of 
its repeal or suspension — because it might be fairly pleaded that the 
paper was not under the influence of the administration. These ex- 
planations I hold to be due to you, and to myself. In any mode that 
I can serve my country I am at your service, because I am sure that 
you would not suspect me of being an hunter of office, but one who 
really feels the true glory of being a freeman and the duty which every 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 297 

man owes to devote his faculties to the service of his country, and his 
life if the exigency calls for the sacrifice. This is my sentiment, and 
it is that in which I have educated my children. I am, &c. 

To Jefferson} 

Respected Sir, — The following is a copy of an anonymous com- 
munication made to me, which has since produced a correspondence with 
the writer, and a disclosure of the Cypher, therein alluded to, a copy of 
which I also subjoin. 

[Copy] 

" Mr. Duane, — In addition to the facts stated in your paper of this 
morning, you may add the following if you think proper. 

" That in the mouth of July last, a confidential friend of Colonel 
Burr, left with some persons (whom he thought his dupes) the Key in 
Cyphers to write him ; that the letters were directed to D 1 . Clarke, 
Esq 1 "., at N. Orleans. 

" The aforesaid Key is in my possession, should you wish to see it, 
it shall be communicated confidentially, as well as the true and genuine 
plan of the Great Colonel which is the same in effect as was published 
by you this morning. 

" Yours truly, 

" A Democrat and Friend 

" 10th Jany> [1807] » 

After certain notifications and some few private notes in reply con- 
taining no additional public matter, the Copy of the Key was left at my 
house, a copy of which I inclose on a separate paper. 

I have been informed from very creditable authority that Dr. Boll- 
man, is one of the agents of Mr. Burr at Orleans. 

Mr. Burr I am told had made application to a celebrated French 
Engineer, who lives (or lately lived) at Baltimore, he was formerly 
the Count La Marc, or Lemarque, and is known now by the name of 
Godefroy. 

I am also told that some young men from this city have started 
within a week, to join in the treason ; one of them is named Fries, son 
of the store-keeper corner of Market and Third, formerly the old gaol ; 
the names of the other young men I have not yet learned ; though they 
are all allowed to be federalists. 

On the paper annexed to the Key, I send copies of two letters that 
in my mind merit very serious attention. — The source from whence 
they are derived is unquestionable. 

i Jeff. MSS. 
38 



298 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Our State legislature exhibits a melancholy scene of governmental 
intrigue. — Indeed Mr. McKean has completely succeeded in destroy- 
ing poor Sam 1 . Bryan, who is now in this city with a numerous and 
young family, and I believe not 50 dollars in the world; his furniture 
is left to pay his rent at Lancaster ; and his whole offence constancy 
and principle, integrity in discharge of his duty, and an invincible 
fidelity to the principles of the Revolution. 

Mr. Steele who was the Republican Candidate was thrown out by an 
intrigue of the most scandalous nature. He is under a prosecution at 
the suit of the Governor for 50,000 dollars damages ; for signing an 
address of the members of the Legislature, recommending S. Snyder 
as the Governmental Candidate. Deplorable to say the intrigues of 
the Governor's partisans succeeded in setting up the author of the 
address, who was not prosecuted, against Mr. Steele, who only signed 
it : and it was to defeat this odious intrigue that Mr. Gregg owes his 
election. These are painful occurrences to men who devote their lives 
and indeed their peace and comfort to sustain the cause of liberty & 
virtue; they are afflicting & discouraging; to see men whom we 
deemed virtuous only a few weeks ago, by their avarice of office put- 
ting the whole interests of a state at hazard, and endangering the 
cause of republicanism by destroying confidence among brethren and 
exciting the Exultation of the wily and unprincipled adversary parties. 

I trust you will excuse my freedom in thus writing to you, in the 
present troublous times ; but as the countenance you have occasionally 
given to the faithful men of the state has considerably sustained good 
principles, so people here still look to you to counteract when occasion 
honorably offers, the fatal effects of the existing administration of the 
State. I do not write for any answer, nor wish to trouble you with 
writing one. It will be sufficiently grateful to me, if I contribute by 
my efforts any useful service, or afford you a satisfactory evidence. of a 
very warm and sincere heart. 

Yours faithfully. 



To Madison. 

Philadelphia, May 1, 1807 

Sir, — I am induced to apply to you on the present occasion by an 
incidental hint which fell in conversation from a very intelligent gentle- 
man in this city, who enquiring the progress of my edition of D r 
Franklin's works, suggested that I ought to make application for liberty 
to copy such articles as might be deemed of value of D r Franklin's 
political productions while he was abroad, and that there were such in 
the Department of State. As I had not before conceived that idea, 



■ 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 299 

and as I cannot now say whether it is well founded or not, I have 
thought it proper to intimate a wish to you, in this respectful form, to 
be permitted to transcribe any papers of D r Franklin's that may be so 
deposited, and which it may not be improper to publish. I should 
have made this application loug since, had I not expected to have been 
in Washington long before ; nor shall I expect any answer at present, 
as I propose waiting on you personally for the purpose, on my way to 
Richmond about the 20th of the present month. I have not thought it 
proper to trouble the President on the subject, concluding that you 
would if necessary consult him. 

I see by the papers that Capt. M Gregor's commission as consul at 
S* Croix had not been received some time ago — I forwarded it to M r 
Prom a Danish Merchant at S* Croix, who is the husband [of] my 
wife's sister, and make no doubt of its safe delivery — I thought it 
proper to mention this lest it should be supposed I had omitted to 
send it. 

I am Sir With respect Your obed 1 Ser* 

W m DUANE 

To Jefferson. 1 

Wednesday morning, July 1, 1807 

Respected Sir, — I left late last night in the hands of your servant 
two letters from Richmond entrusted to me to be delivered to you, the 
lateness of the hour deprived me of the pleasure of delivering them in 
person ; and as I have no business that would justify my occupying 
your time, I have preferred dropping this note for you, with a tender 
of my services in any situation which my humble talents may appear 
to you useful in the present crisis of affairs, when zeal, fidelity and 
intelligence may perhaps be required. The sense of the country on 
the recent outrage, is such as your most earnest wishes could look for 
under such circumstances, and I am persuaded that the more prompt, 
decisive and marked by resolution and confidence in the people, the 
more will your honor and the safety of the country be promoted and 
secured. The Whigs of your native State are as full of zeal as in any 
period of the Revolution. The town meeting at Richmond was by 
much the most respectable I have seen on any such occasion, and their 
spirit was happily contrasted by the puny efforts of Mr. Feuton Mercer 
and young Gamble, to take away from the energy of the proceedings 
there ; these two young men and the son of Chief Justice Marshall 
formed the whole of the minority. 

A letter from my son of the 26th ult. met me here, and contains the 
following remarkable paragraph. 

1 Jeff. MSS. 



300 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

" There is a correspondence now going on between Jonathan Dayton 
and John Marshall, Chief Justice — and between Jonathan Dayton and 
Yrujo — Dayton tries to feign a handwriting different from his own, 
but without effect. This may be relied on." 

Mr. John Morgan formerly Adjutant General in Jersey, but now of 
Washington, Penna, arrived in this city in the same stage with me, the 
evidence of that gentleman, his father and brother is spoken of as very 
honorable to them and important to the public. 

It was said when I left Richmond that Mr. Burr had been tamper- 
ing with the guard over him ; Major Scott in my hearing directed an 
additional sentinel. 

Genl. Wilkinson told me he would leave Richmond on Wednesday, 
(this day) for Washington. 

Mr. Graham whom I met at Dumfries desired me to present his 
respects, he meant to come on with Wilkinson. 

Any commands you may have for me of any kind it will afford me 
particular satisfaction to attend to. I am, &c. » 

To Jefferson} 

Phila. July 8, 1807 

Respected Sir, — Whatever may be the ultimate issue of the 
violence already committed by the British, I respectfully submit if 
it would not be expedient to make immediate arrangements for the 
establishment of Telegraphs such as would render the communication 
between the extremes of the union and the principal points on the sea- 
board, and the seat of government prompt and clear. 

The expense of such an establishment would be found on inquiry 
not very great, and the machinery might be constructed upon principles 
so simple as to convey any species of Information with accuracy. The 
advantages of such an establishment in the event of offensive operations 
on different points of our coasts, I need not point out to you. Permit 
me to suggest that the most simple would be the system of numerical 
signs, which might be so contrived as to refer to a numbered vocabu- 
lary or Dictionary prepared for the purpose. The names of places 
persons and things not usually found in Dictionaries might be added in 
the key book. Or an ordinary pocket Dictionary might be first pre- 
pared by scoring out such words as were not essential for the purpose 
and numbering the words in progression. From such a system all the 
advantages of publicity or secrecy might be preserved at discretion, 
either by placing the key only at the point of intelligence and in the 
possession of such persons as were in the confidence of Govert. This 
idea was suggested to me by the famous cypher of Burr. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 301 

Will you with your usual goodness permit me to offer a few sugges- 
tions, which, tho' I make no doubt some of them may be already more 
completely conceived and unfolded by other and abler hands, will not 
I hope be inexcusable from me, for their intention is good. 

If the British persist in making war on us it will be perhaps prin- 
cipally by commercial depredation, secondly by their old system of 
conflagration and outrage on the seaboard, and thirdly by carrying into 
effect those designs which were conceived and prepared to be carried 
into execution when the sudden conclusion of the peace of Amiens stopt 
the enterprise, but out of which have since arisen the Expeditions of 
Miranda and Burr. 

I believe it is well understood that the two armaments which were 
cotemporaneous with the French Louisiana expedition formed in the 
ports of Holland were intended for South America and Florida. It is 
very probable that the project against the latter was intended to be 
affected had Burr succeeded at N. Orleans. In the event of their 
determination upon a war Florida will certainly become an object to 
them both of political advantage in relation to the W. Indies and of 
annoyance to U. S. Under the plausible appearance of only attacking 
Spain, they may expect to quiet their adherents in the U. States ; and 
the little difficulty which they would find in occupying St. Augustine or 
Pensacola would afford to the disaffected adherents of Burr in that 
quarter a temptation too flattering for men disgraced and dishonored 
as they must be not to procure for the British many adherents. It is 
a certain fact that Elizabeth the daughter of the President of Princeton 
College, did not very long ago declare at New Orleans, in words to 
this effect, to a gentleman in a company where several were present — 
" Damn ye ! you have destroyed Burr, but not the principle, and you 
will suffer in less than two years for your present conduct : damn ye ! 
fifty of you should have been assassinated ! " " Who minds what a 
woman says ! " replied the gentleman. " Yet I wonder your husband 
don't teach you more discretion." 

The Princeton Amazon replied. " If they durst speak you would 
have harder things from them." 

My second son who I sent by Pittsburg in the track of these gentry and 
returned here on Friday in the Spanish Lady, says that much disaffec- 
tion prevails there still. Some of the intrenchments established by 
Wilkinson are leveled. And many speak of the future realization of 
what has miscarried by vigilance of government and the attachment 
of the people. Circumstances such as the conversation of this warlike 
lady cannot arise from shallow sources ; the terms indicate much more 
than the sentiment reveals. The occupation of Florida would in a 
great measure lead to the loss of Louisiana, at least to render its settle- 
ment more remote and precarious ; further reflections I need not offer, 



302 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

because if my premises are at all plausible or likely to be matters of 
action, the results are easily foreseen. Under any circumstances of war, 
whether Florida should be attempted or not, attacks real or feigned 
would be made on various parts of the coast ; the eastern coasts would 
be attempted if Florida was the object, and the Hudson, < Delaware 
and Chesapeake would be alarmed to direct attention from Florida. 
These reasonings are founded on the reality of an intended and active 
war. Permit me to continue the tram of my thoughts on the subject. 

Experience shows that offensive operations conducted with vigor and 
spirit are more effective than measures merely defensive. The spirit 
and enterprise of the American character are peculiarly fitted for offen- 
sive enterprises. To guard ourselves the best principle of defence would 
be prompt and multiplied enterprises against them. All their points 
are vulnerable. The employment of any force we should chuse against 
them out of our own territory would not weaken us. Two or three 
bold enterprises might add to our resources, and even an expedition 
that should but be partially executed against them, would be fatal in 
its measure according to the nature of the position attacked. Their 
commerce, their credit, the popularity of their governmental agents 
would all be shaken, and their being forced to act on the defensive 
would be to us preservation. 

There are four points at which the British might be attacked with 
peculiar advantage to us and disadvantage to them. And the attack 
of some of them would be essentially a part of our defensive system. 
Canada would be necessarily attacked to protect us from the British 
emissaries and the resources of war supplied by them to the Indian 
tribes. The capture of Halifax would be essential to deprive their 
fleet of a harbor. Expeditions thither could not be overlooked nor 
omitted, and the materials for the seizure of both would require little 
more than the breath of government to create them. Two other ex- 
peditions ought at least to be prepared, and if not carried at once into 
effect might be avowed as intended. One against Newfoundland and 
another against Jamaica. The former would not require 4,000 men. 
The latter would require 20,000 and a reserve of 10,000. The ex- 
pense, and the difficulties of the attack on Jamaica I am perfectly 
aware of ; but I am also aware of the magnitude of the consequences 
which would result from an attack upon Jamaica. Its commercial con- 
sequence and the political influence of that commerce. Its being the 
only island which can subsist itself during a war. These are consider- 
ations that ought to tempt enterprise to surmount difficulties. The best 
mode of conducting such an expedition, the points of descent, the means 
to prepare it, and the measures to insure its accomplishment, would 
necessarily better result of inquiries and considerations more experienced 
than I presume to be. But I cannot be mistaken I think in the mo- 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DTJANE. 303 

mentous influence which the holdness of the idea of attacking Jamaica 
would produce on the Royal Exchange and in the Cabinet of George III. 
I believe the very menace would be better than a battle of Trafalgar 
and as decisive in its degree as the battles of Austerlitz or Jena. 

An actual war would of necessity give us the aid of the navies of 
France and Spain. Jamaica could be best attacked from Porto Rica 
or from Cuba or from both. The French under Bellecombe took 
Newfoundland with 400 men in the year 1762; 4,000 provincials re- 
took the year after, without more than a dozen lives lost ; occupation 
would be conquest, and the effect on the British Fisheries, I need not 
describe to you who have written with so much intelligence on the 
subject. If there is war will it not be essential to have a camp at 
Saratoga or on the Lake Champlaine ? And to keep a very vigilant 
eye on the Upper Canadians ; to repair or raise new defences at 
Detroit and Niagara. 

I have thrown these hasty reflections together in perfect assurance 
that they will meet a favorable reception. Every man owes to the 
Society of which he is a member the tribute of his services ; if my ideas 
are not such as better judgments would approve or act upon, I have 
the satisfaction of knowing they are fairly intended and will be so 
received, I am, &c. 

There is an English officer of the name of Connolly in this neighbor- 
hood. His deportment and other circumstances induce me to think he 
is on some mission. Lefevre an Irishman who you may recollect con- 
cerned in the Yazoo is constantly with him. They are both at Bristol 
at present. I have no opinion of Lefevre. 

This letter is not written to obtain an answer, but merely to offer 
the ideas it contains for consideration. I shall take the liberty some 
day this week of offering you some observations on the present condi- 
tion of Fort Mifflin. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phila. Oct. 16, 1807 

Respected Sir, — I have just received yours of the 14th and shall 
attend to the matters noted in it. 

I have laid apart for you a copy of Jarrold's animadversions by way 
of answer to Malthus, in which my side of the question is taken against 
Malthus with much ability, tho' I think he has left a great deal unsaid. 

The conversations on chemistry, English Edit. I fear cannot be had. 
Cumberland I think may. 

Macmahon's Book and the Elements of Botany I can also get, and 
shall carry them on with me at the close of the next week. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



304 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Our election in the city has been a very ardent one. My friends 
during my absence at Richmond put me up as Senator for the State, 
and this brought out the whole Tory progeny. We have had 800 
votes more given in than at any former Election in this city, and altho' 
there were more votes for me than were ever given for any member of 
Congress of the same politics, Swanwick, Clay, Jones, or McClenachan, 
yet they polled 500 ahead ; no doubt there was enormous fraud, but 
there was also unprecedented exertion. As is often the case, tho' I 
had no knowledge of my own nomination, and was adverse to being 
elected, and tho' to be elected would have been most ruinous to my per- 
sonal affairs, the anger and irritation has been such, that hundreds now 
blame me as the cause of failure for suffering my name to be run. 

This singular direction of popular mistake affords me an opportunity 
that I have long looked for of making an effort to retire from politics 
altogether, and to devote the remainder of my time and capacity to 
the concerns of my growing family. This I mean to do in such a way 
as to avoid a false eclat and to still preserve the utility of the Aurora. 
My son whose competence to the duty has been tried will go on in the 
same track, and whenever my habits propel me to politics of course I 
will not restrain my feelings nor my exertions. Should war, or any 
serious exigency, demand my humble talents, they are as ever at your 
command. In the event of peace I must endeavor by industry to dis- 
charge the heavy encumbrances of debt which I incurred in supporting 
the cause of my country, which I have but partially discharged for a 
few years past, and the interest of which alone has been a dead weight 
upon my industry. I think it due to the kind and constant good will 
and friendship with which you have honored me so uniformly and so 
long to state these my feelings and purposes to you, lest misrepresenta- 
tion should give another hue to my conduct or pursuits when they 
become known. 

A person called on me this day stating that an armed British ship 
had met an American coasting vessel or pilot boat, and after abusing 
those on board the American vessel, delivered a letter for the British 
Ambassador. This letter he put into my hands under an impression 
that to have received it was illegal, and confiding that I would advise 
him what was best to do. I advised him to forward it to the Presi- 
dent, which he authorized me to do, and I have accordingly put it 
under a cover, for you. It goes by the same mail as this. I don't 
know where Mr. Erskine is, but I suppose at Washington. 

To Jefferson. 1 

(Received Dec. 5th, 1807) 
Respected Sir, — By the mail which carries this I have taken the 
liberty of sending you a copy of the first number of the Military library, 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 305 

a compilation of my own ; it is my purpose to collect all that is to be 
had in the best books and to give them such a form as the first number 
exhibits, which may lead judicious men to inquire and think, and in- 
form those who are uninformed. I have obtained thro' Genl. Dear- 
borne's kindness the use of several books from the War Office Library, 
and particularly the invaluable but prolix work of Guibert, the whole 
substance of which I mean to comprehend in my work. I have the 
French system translated making about 700 manuscript pages, to 
which will be added perspicuous diagrams of all the modern move- 
ments. It will be seen that from the price of this number, I have not 
looked so much to profit as to public utility, and I persuade myself that 
the circulation of such a work would be of very great use. I have 
conversed much with Genl. Wilkinson on the subject, and meet his 
ideas as far as I was competent to discourse with a man of practical 
experience. 

I propose preparing as part of my work a Manuel for American 
militia, the object of which is to supply what is wanted in Steuben's 
little tract; and to accommodate it to the use of every description of 
troops, Infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and to add to it some ideas of 
combination of movement of the various kinds of force. I explain 
myself to you with the same frankness and unreserve that your uniform 
kindness has encouraged me always to do, perhaps it would appear 
upon consideration that this work would be worth recommending to 
such militia officers as are in Congress, for there is no work on military 
affairs extant which communicates any consistent information on more 
than one branch of service ; and a library of various books contains 
so much extraneous matter and besides the books are both scarce and 
expensive, that it is scarcely possible to collect them for several years. 

Law suits have detained me here and will detain me till at least after 
the 20th instant, so that I shall not have the pleasure of delivering the 
books you ordered till the first week in January. Mr. Barton's botani- 
cal book is not to be had in sheets. Cumberland's work is to have a 
second volume ; there is no English edition to be had here but in 
quarto, which I did not take, knowing that you preferred 8vos. 

Neither is there an English copy of Mrs. Bryan's Chemical Conver- 
sations to be had. 

Col. Burr was to sail this day for Richmond. I have not yet heard 
that he is gone ; he was arrested here on Tuesday at night at the suit 
I believe of Alexcmder Henry, whom you may remember as notorious 
jobber in the 8 per cent loan ; it was ten o'clock at night before he 
obtained bail. I have not been able to learn who were his sureties. 

We are in a bad way here as to our militia. The uniform corps will 
not serve under McKean. He has ordered them to be called out in 
companies, to annoy them ; and as no law authorizes they will not I 



306 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

much fear obey him ; the company I commanded formerly, now com- 
manded by Mr. Graves, will however by my advice turn out ; but 
Rush and some others say they will not, unless under your authority. 
I know how many delicate and unpleasant considerations might arise 
from these dispositions all flowing from the best and most honorable 
motives; but in the manner that they have been treated by McKean, 
the contumelious dismission of their commandant of the Legion and a 
variety of vexations that his malignant temper and the malignant dis- 
positions of his advisers have prompted, renders it a matter more 
unpleasant than surprising. As soon as I heard of it I waited on some 
of the officers, and endeavored to induce them to turn out. Capt. 
Greaves alone I could prevail upon ; but they have consented to call 
on the adjutant Genl. and converse with him. The argument they use 
by the bye is different from the true one. They say they are willing 
to turn out with their own officers, not with officers of McKean's nomi- 
nation, in whom they could have no confidence. They are willing to 
take their turn in the ordinary draft as other militia even under 
McKean, but as the law does not oblige them to turn out as Volunteer 
corps and the President has not accepted their services, they will abide 
by the law. They add however that they are not ready to go from 
home and leave men behind them who are the deadly enemies of the 
Government, who are exempted from service & enjoy their property 
under a government for which they will not fight, and whose friends 
they would destroy. These matters are yet not publicly known, and 
no efforts shall be untried to prevent bad effects. I am, &c. 

Eseyibeck to Duane. 1 

City of Washington, Jan: the 11th, 1808. 
Mr. Duane will oblige me to have the following Advertisement in- 
certed in your usefull Paper, and send the Acc c to Mr. Waitman your 
Agent and I will pay him. 

Advertisement. 

There is a curious old man near the Treasury Office in the City of 
Washington who served the United States near 15 Years, and he says; 
that from his Youth up he studied different foreign Languages, and 
now he is in his 57th Year and just finished his Studdies, for he found 
out a Language which he calls his own, which has the Power that he 
can convey his thoughts as far as the Eye can see, the Ear can hear 
and understanding can conceive, a distance of 4 miles in five minutes, 
and converse in Cypher with any Person he gives the Key on any Sub- 
ject whatever. He thinks and says that if his delegraphical Language 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 307 

which can be used by Land and water, would be applyed as a Dele- 
graph would have such effect and would answer a very good purpose 
in War. He will prove it, and give the Key to the President of the 
U. S.- 
Will : ESENBECK. 

To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, Jan. 12, 1808 
Respected Sir, — There may or may not be something in the 
matter enclosed. if there is anything useful perhaps it may be ob- 
tained better without than with an advertisement, as the subject appears 
to me to be of very great importance. 

Tho' I think the Dictionary Telegraph, with signs by numbers refer- 
ring to the Words in the Dict'y, the most perfect system that can be 
devised. 

With the utmost respect. 



To Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, 17 January, 1808 

Respected Sir, — I think it my duty to enclose the letter herewith 
sent- I have cut the name of the person and his place of residence out, 
only in obedience to an injunction made to me repeatedly not to let his 
name be known as my correspondent. 

He is a man of unquestionable integrity, and is sufficiently wealthy 
to be above all temptations to forfeit his character for worldly motives ; 
he has sent collections of Books to be deposited in our public libraries, 
at his own expence, and became my correspondent wholly on account 
of his opinion of the Aurora, and the attachment which he feels towards 
your political fame and measures. I thought it necessary to say thus 
much of the writer, whose name I would give to you alone, because I 
am sure he would not object, but I do not send it, to guard against any 
accidents that might befal it in the way to you. 

I have procured all the information practicable concerning the mine 
of Zinc on Perkiomen (22 miles from this city) which with Specimens 
of the ores, I shall give to Capt. C. Irvine, to forward to the Sec y at 
War. I need not urge to you the value of Zinc, if a large quantity of 
brass artillery are to be cast. 

There is no information of any kind here worth troubling you with. 
I am, &c. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



308 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, Jan. 29, 1808. 

Respected Sir, — The letter enclosed has just come to my hands ; 
I have no acquaintance with the Gentleman who writes it, but have had, 
as he appears to know, received a number of communications more 
voluminous, but not so concise as this ; all of them concur in making 
representations as strong and some even stronger than the enclosed. 
That there has been a most nefarious scheme of speculation carried on 
there appears to me beyond doubt. I think it my duty to send this 
letter, aware at the same time that much must depend on the character 
of the accuser and his motives : but there is certainly a very general 
concurrence in his opinions. 

Judge Woodward has written me a letter intimating a design to reply 
to a series of papers on the concerns of Michigan which will give the 
other side of the question. 

Mr. Hervey's letter is of course communicated in confidence. 
I am with affectionate respect 

To Madison. 

Phi a Feb. 8, 1808 

Sir, — I expected before this time to have found some safe hand to 

transmit the Volume of papers by but have been until this day 

unsuccessful, a Gentleman who sets out in a day or two promises to 
take it under charge in his trunk ; I have it for the purpose safely 
packed up. 

I should have sent it before had I not meditated going to Washing- 
ton myself, I find however that I can render more public service here 
than I could to myself at Washington, and have for the present 
abandoned the idea of going down ; meantime, if there is any mode in 
which I can render public service, or if I by any mistaken ideas of 
facts (for I have no guides or advices but my own judgment) I shall be 
very happy to be informed or corrected, so as to render service and to 
avoid doing any disservice ; however I know enough of the British 
Government and nation, to understand them pretty well, and the con- 
duct they have pursued is too much in character to admit of any second 
opinion upon rational grounds. This much I think it fit to say on 
public matters. 

Mr. John Bioren and myself have agreed to propose the printing of 
an Edition of the Laws of the U States in a neat form, perfectly corre- 
sponding with the ideas of an index and arrangement which you were 
pleased to mention to me about two years ago — 1 shall send you a 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 309 

copy of a Volume of Laws as a Specimen of the manner and Execu- 
tion of the whole, and a specification of the terms and other particulars. 
I have associated with Mr Bioren on account of his excellence as a 
printer and because it would enable me to undertake business which 
my activity in the best interests of the country has hitherto prevented, 
rather than promoted as might in justice have been expected. I only 
mention this subject now, and consider this only as a personal note, in 
order that when I send the book the circumstance may not appear pre- 
cipitate— I require no answer 

I am Sir with great Respect 

Your obed' Ser* 

W m DUANE 

To Madison. 

Phil a Feb. 20, 1808 

Sir, — The enclosed information I conceive to be better disposed of 
in the Department of State than in a newspaper — and therefore trans- 
mit it. 

1 respectfully suggest that as the communicator did not perhaps ex- 
pect to be thus before the Executive Department that in relation to 
him, to protect him from vengeance of Speculators, the letter be used 
only as in confidence. 

I have the honor to be 

Your obed Ser' 

W m DlJANE 

James Madison Esq Sec 1 ? of State 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phila. (Sunday) March 20th, 1808 
Respected Sir, — Capt. Norris' papers are in my hands, and should 
have been forwarded last week, had I not been (as I have been for six 
weeks past) harrassed by various law suits ; 2 I am this day released to 
rest, but tomorrow my suit, or rather Gouverneur Morris's suit against 
me comes on. It begun on Thursday and may be expected to end 
tomorrow; I have had no counsel hitherto, but have been induced to 
call in Joseph Hopkinson, with a view to introduce a copy of Mr. 
Stevenson de Berkenrode's letter from Berlin in 1795, which upon 
common law principles of evidence they would not let me even read. 

i Jeff. MSS. 

2 " The storm beats hard against me here still. Last week and this Law, 
Law, Law. On Wednesday I am to be tried on a libel suit of Yrujo's. Thurs- 
day for a conspiracy to prevail upon Govr. McKean to commission a man sheriff 
duly elected. The object is to keep me from Lancaster and to ruin my affairs — 
on which subjects I should take the liberty of saying more if you were a private 
citizen." Duane to Jefferson, 29 February, 1808. 



310 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

The libel is in these words. " Whence did Mr. Gouverneur Morris 
draw his compensation for his services at Berlin after his dismission 
from the embassy to France for carrying on an illicit correspondence." 

The words in italic are the libel. 

I beg pardon for mentioning these things, but I have this further 
motive in doing it, that it will account for the deficiency of discussion 
and original matter generally for some time past. My mind has been 
wholly engrossed by these persecuting politicians, whose enmity against 
me is as acute and venomous at this moment, as at any former period. 
As soon as this suit is closed, I shall be free from law trammels till 
June ; on Tuesday or Wednesday I shall put Mr. Norris's papers in 
order and forward them; I have advised him to obtain the affidavits 
from such persons as are at New York, and he has set about it. 

The poor venerable man has lost the use of his left arm and the fingers 
are drawn in a cluster by the contraction of the sinews from the blows 
he received in defending his head and body against the cruel ruffians. 
He has been a revolutionary man, and was it seems very active in his 
youth against the British ; his principles and language have never 
varied; and his character is that he always speaks the truth; among 
seafaring people, he is very well known under this character • and it 
seems the British officer was not ignorant of it, since he paid him for 
country sake. 

The Randolphian Rescript has produced much the same effect as 
Timothy Pickering's. It has fixed men who were wavering and de- 
termined many to act in opposition to its dictates, who very possibly 
might have acted differently. Excuse me with your usual kindness. 
Ever affectionately & respectfully yours. 



To Jefferson. 1 

Phila. Aug. 9, 1808 

Respected Sir, — The inclosed letter contains information of a na- 
ture that ought not to be unknown to the Executive, and I therefore 
inclose it. 

The subject to which it relates induces me also to state, that much 
abuse of the Embargo has been committed in this port; I communicated 
to the Custom house information last week, of provisions and other 
articles put on board a vessel at one of our wharves ; and instances 
have been frequent and notorious. The inability of Genl. Shee for a 
long time past, to give energy to the office ; and the indecent hostility 
of Mr. Graaf the deputy Collector to the general administration and its 
public policy have combined to relax the due force of the law in a 
manner that is inconceivable unless on the scene of action. Indeed the 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTEES OF WILLIAM DTJANE. 311 

Custom house is proverbially a den of disorganization and has been 
constantly one of the most fatal means of distraction and division be- 
tween the friends of the public policy, and the professed friends. The 
appointment of a firm and upright character as the successor of Gen. 
Shee will not only be essential to the support of the public policy and 
law, but will in the effect of the choice greatly influence the Elections 
in this district, which if something is not done by discountenancing those 
officers of the government of the U. S. who foment distraction, and 
selecting persons who will prefer public duty to all secret influence of 
vicious individuals, if some thing of this nature does not occur, we shall 
be saddled with three malignant Federalists, Geo. Latimer, Jos. Hemphill, 
and Peter A. Brown, for Congress. I do not undertake to name any 
person as suited to succeed Gen. Shee, because it might seem to be a 
wish to promote some individual rather than the public interest that 
influenced these remarks. Much caution and correct information from 
sources to be relied on, are certainly requisite to guard against interested 
representations, and the movements of the enemies of administration at 
our Coffee houses. 

In the State we shall carry our Presidential ticket without hazard, 
altho' I understand S. Maclay is coming forth with a Phillipic against 
Mr. Madison ; but he has already committed political suicide, and what 
he may do can be only barely offensive without being destructive. I 
think it an act of friendship to my friend Leiper, who is one of the 
Securities for the Marshal of this district, to apprise you that I fear 
Mr. Leiper may suffer by being bail. Smith has purchased lands and 
built a kind of palace that cost about 18 to 20,000 $. The property 
is covered by the name of Rebecca Robins the sister of Smith's wife, 
who it is well known had, no more than 500 £ currency her portion. 
As this evil must grow with time, and as I have spoken and others have 
spoken to Mr. L. who appears at a loss what to do, I think it but justice 
to apprize you of it, so that Mr. L. may at least take steps to secure 
himself. I fear too, that there is a shipping concern in which the same 
person with his son-in-law a Mr. Dennis have been engaged, may tend 
to increase a future involvement, as Dennis has been very lately a bank- 
rupt, and has sent a vessel under an Orleans clearance to Antigua, and 
I am told the vessel has returned new painted and under another name. 
I mention these particulars only to shew the extreme precariousness of 
the security. 

There are many things which occur here that ought to be known, 
but I am apprehensive of being too troublesome to you. 
Ever respected sir, &c. 



312 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

To R. C. Weightman. 

Phil a Dec 20, 1808 

D R Roger, — By Samuel Carswell, Esqr of this city, who goes on 
business to Washington, I send you a volume of the Laws of Pennsyl- 
vania, which I wish you to present without delay to the Secretary of 
State, and signify to him that it is your intention to propose to him the 
printing of an Edition of the Laws of the U. S. in that manner, or on 
a size to correspond with Tucker's Blackstone, and with such an Index 
as he suggested two or three years ago in a conversation with me, the 
Index is in fact already compleated, in the manner of that executed for 
the Pennsylvania volume accompanying, and will be continued ; it is 
contemplated to give to the edition double numerical references ; that 
is to say as this edition would comprise in one page nearly two of the 
existing Edition ; the marginal numbers of the former editions published 
by Authority would be marked on the margin, opposite the line of this 
new editon which begun each page in the old ; so that reference could 
be made by this comprehensive Edition to the old Octavos from the 
beginning of the Fed 1 Government. 

I enclose you the Rough Sketch made about three years ago, be- 
tween Bioren and myself, and tho' his name may or may not appear 
he would be an equal sharer in it for in fact the Indexes have been 
procured and Executed at his Expence already. 

You will take a copy of the Rough Sketch for your own information, 
and you may if you find it expedient exhibit that as well as this letter, 
for I wish to have no dealing in which there is reserve. You will be 
able better to judge of the prospect of success in such an application 
than I can., and it is absolutely expedient that I do something to get 
myself out of the hands of the Banks here, who worry me every day, a 
situation in which I never should have been placed were it not for the 
Washington Establishment, from the involvement of which I have never 
yet completely extricated myself. 

If you do not see the business as clear as you should require, write by 
Post without delay — but take care of the book and present it at least 
with an intimation of what it is sent for. 

I wish you would read my last letter to you over again — you seem 
to mistake in the extreme what I wrote [illegible] Yrs. 

To Jefferson. 1 
(Private) Jan. 23, 1809 

Sir, — The present state of public affairs and the events which in 
one shape or another must arise out of it, calls for the exercise of all 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 313 

your sagacity and resolution. You have« stood the storm of the Revo- 
lution and passed through it with solid glory. You have sustained the 
shocks of a contemplated revolution more insidious, but not less menac- 
ing, and carried the national vessel safe through unexampled vicissi- 
tudes. There is a time when it would be better to perish than survive 
the ruins of one's country ; and I very seriously apprehend, that unless 
some measures be speedily adopted which may fix the national senti- 
ment, that there will be a struggle of a most serious nature. 

Impressions such as these alone could tempt me to intrude thus upon 
you, but I conceive it to be a duty of affection, to lay my suggestions 
before you, and trust confidently to your wisdom to decide whether I 
am mistaken in my apprehensions or in the mode which I venture to 
suggest as an immediate remedy. My means of information no doubt 
are partial, but such as they are, they are formed with as dispassionate 
a mind and with as earnest a purpose to ascertain true reports as can 
be found in the community. If I am mistaken, then it is my judg- 
ment, and my intention will be my excuse. 

I think the time is now come to ask and act upon this question. 
What is the best means of preserving the fruits of the Revolution from 
wreck ? 

I believe that the British government have brought it to this issue and 
are determined to put our means to the test. I believe they have system- 
atized conspiracy in the bosom of the land, and have lavished and laid 
up fuel for a conflagration. 1 believe that were there not a powerful 
back, that the treasonable and outrageous proceedings which have 
already taken place, would never have been begun ; and I am persuaded 
that forbearance has only taught them to calculate upon perfect im- 
punity. The resources which they have provided, the materials with 
which they act, the manner of the action, indicate a determination to 
go to the most desperate lengths, and unless something be done, they 
will shake this continent to its foundation. No doubt the case is sur- 
rounded with difficulties — but it is for that very reason that it should 
be met with resolution ; the very impunity with which outrage pro- 
gresses, is a sure aliment and aid to its progress. 

Permit me to place the case before you with a view to its operation 
in society. Every man of observation knows the fact, that public dis- 
cussion, argument, and reasoning upon measures of policy, are not 
addressed to the intelligent and the virtuous part of the community ; 
neither are they ever addressed to the hearts or heads of the depraved. 
There are in every society large masses of men, who never think or 
reason ; some who have no capacity for thought ; many whose judg- 
ments are too weak to be constant to any fixt ideas; and very many 
who assume a mask of moderation or liberality only to cover their dia- 
bolical selfishness and depravity; very unfortunately this mixture of 

40 



314 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

ignorance, imbecility, instability and hypocrisy is very numerous. It 
forms perhaps a full third of every society ; and it is to the major part 
of this mass that all public discussions are addressed. They in fact make 
the majority in all critical times, and are as ready to be thrown 
into the balance on one side or the other, according to the mode in 
which they are addressed. With those who may be called the innocent 
classes of this portion of the people, whenever there appears to be vigor on 
one side and moderation on the other, they take the part of moderation, 
until the vigorous party become daring ; they then withdraw to watch 
the conflict, and to join with whatever party that appears likely to be 
triumphant. It is a selfish feeling which governs them ; and as they 
are not sufficiently well informed to fix an opinion for themselves, will 
go as readily wrong as right according to the impression which is made 
upon them. Indeed in such critical times, as there is more zeal and 
industry bestowed to produce wrong than to preserve right, the danger 
is greater; men in the right calm, confident and unsuspicious rely upon 
the virtue which they feel and appropriate similar feelings to others 
who have no consciousness of their influence ; and it is on this innocent 
part of the community that the hypocritical portion act, and it is from 
these hypocrites that the agents of corruption and affliction are selected. 

In such a case what are the best means to be pursued for public safety ? 
How is the evil to be remedied. How is this innocent class, who ac- 
cording to my ideas have little force of mind, little judgment, who are 
so easily led wrong as well as right, and to whom wisdom and virtue 
are under the necessity of paying the homage of argument ? It is a 
painful picture, but it is true, it unhappily is no fanciful feature, it is an 
existing being, and may be transformed into a tyger, a lion, or accord- 
ing to the regimen a lamb. 

Who can forget that has had experience of the Reign of Terror, 
when a minority in fact of the whole nation terrified the nation and 
silenced even men of virtue. In prosperity they say we forget past 
sorrows. The time is now come to awaken the painful recollections 
of those days when you could not walk the public streets in security, 
when no man's home was safe who was not a minion or a sycophant of 
power ; what they accomplished in power the same party will again 
accomplish out of power, if some measures are not taken to rescue the 
unthinking part of the nation out of the hands of the abandoned and 
corrupt. They already have proceeded so far as to set the government 
at defiance, openly violate the laws, and call for a dissolution of the 
Union. It is sickening to witness the airs of iusolence and haughty 
contumely with which the American citizen is daily treated by the 
accredited agents of England. Bond had the impudence to tell me to 
my teeth that it was a party question that now agitated the Union ! 

But what is the remedy ? I say first try what the effect will be 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 315 

of removing the alimentary poison, which is suffered to infect society. 
The poison being removed the body politic has vigor and health. In 
any other nation on earth the leaders of the sedition now spread through 
the union would long since have been conducted to the dungeon or the 
gibbet ; I do not admire such remedies ; thank God they do not belong 
to our code of health ; and it is because I wish that they never should, 
and that those who are laboring for the gallows should be themselves 
protected from their own worst enemies themselves. 

But while the benevolence of our institutions interposes no check, 
the evil is progressing ; the abandoned and corrupt are left to make 
proselytes among the weak and the wicked; the necessities of the times 
throw a considerable body of persons, who have no springs of action 
but their necessities, into the ranks of discontent ; and if it is suffered 
to proceed must inevitably accumulate, with what effects it is difficult 
to anticipate. 

The remedy which appears to me at this moment preferable to all 
others is the suspension of the functions of all the accredited agents of 
England, in the most formal manner ; their conduct notoriously calls 
for it and justifies it; the suspension of commerce itself would be a 
sufficient motive ; but their interference and insolence in our affairs is 
so notorious that public sentiment will not only applaud, but it will 
itself hold back thousands from falling into the snares of corruption ; 
it will have an immediate effect on the nation ; the frieuds of the 
Republic are in truth in a state of despondency ; they see the audac- 
ity of the British agents every day passed over with impunity ; respect 
for the government and laws alone has restrained the people here from 
doing great mischief; I have bestowed days and nights to avert such 
evils; and have incurred reproach for my "pusillanimous moderation^ 
This disposition of the people and the forbearance of men of influence, 
is well known to them. The suspension of the functions of the British 
accredited agents would at once exhibit the determination of the gov- 
ernment, and while it gratified the good, would fix the wavering and 
appal the profligate. Should they persevere in audacity after suspen- 
sion, such a notification as Yrujo got would sustain and give new con- 
fidence to the people in their government ; and the measure has so 
many circumstances to justify the procedure, that it could not be con- 
sidered as a war measure. You have already dismissed foreign minis- 
ters and consuls without its being considered as a war measure. You 
have recalled ministers and consuls under similar circumstances. And 
England has done the same. I have not the vanity to suppose I can 
give you any information on this head, but I wish to shew that it is not 
a light or hasty conception ; but such a measure as carries on it all that 
could be wished of efficacy without violence. It cannot be supposed 
that six newspapers in this city, four in New York, four in Boston 



316 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

three in Baltimore, two in Norfolk, and two in Charleston could be 
supported as efficiently as they are without secret supplies. I find it 
impossible to get out of debt with the paper of greatest circulation in 
the country ; and my personal expenses, beside clothing and food would 
be discharged with fifty dollars a year ! 

As to the effect on England, I candidly declare I do not believe it 
would have any ; I believe that nothing which we can do, will ever 
induce her to alter her course of Policy. I believe she would have 
struck a blow long ago on some point of the continent, had not the idea 
of a civil war been confidently calculated upon. If the British agents 
remain they will realise the calculation — if they are dismissed we 
shall be saved. 

The necessity of some decisive step to assure confidence in the friends 
of the government is imperative. The virtuous part of the nation look 
for it with impatience; and it is equally necessary to preserve the 
wavering part of the community from flying into the arms of the public 
enemies ; for then civil war would inevitably ensue ; and it is among 
that class that in all convulsions the most cruel of mankind are found ; 
those who are now the pimps and panders of foreign agency, and 
cloathe their persons and their lips with words of sanctity and softness, 
would become the cut-throats of men of virtue. There is therefore in 
my humble opinion little time to be lost. A few weeks, or accidents 
which are not to be foreseen, or causes purposely prepared perhaps by 
an inveterate enemy, may convulse the nation ; and the enemy may 
be beforehand with the government. I trust my fears however founded 
will find me an excuse for trespassing with them upon your better 
judgment and precious time. I am, &c. 

To . 

PmL A Feb. 1, .1809 

Sir, — The enclosed letter and draft will explain each other — in an 
effort to make an entire settlement of all my personal affairs I have 
addressed, M r Adams of Orange O House — the draft of M r Gooch not 
being indorsed by M r Adams is my reason for troubling you with the 
letter along with the draft. 

I wish to send a small packet and some information to Mr. Lyman 
our consul at London, and am desirous it should go safely — may I take 
the liberty of sending it forward to go along with the dispatches for 
England ? 

I am Sir with great respect 

Your obed 1 Ser* 

W m DUANE 

The town meeting was very triumphant — But I am sorry to say 
that the private animosities of individuals greatly damp the best efforts 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 317 

of the friends of the government — tho' we endeavor to conceal it from 
our adversaries, who do not so clearly discover as we feel the effects. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phii.a. Feb. 4, 1809 

Dear & respected Sir, — I have learned that the military rank 
which you were pleased to nominate me for, has been confirmed by an 
honorable majority of 21 to 10 in the Senate. I owe you the expres- 
sion at least of my thanks for your goodness on this occasion, and for 
the general benignity with which I have always been honored and 
favored by you ; it is to me a very great solace, that exposed as I have 
been and daily am to the persecutions of the most malignant of men, 
I yet hold a place in your esteem and regard. 

I should not trespass on you at this critical period were it not due to 
your goodness and to my own honor to put you in possession of my 
sentiments at this particular moment. The report of a change in the 
War Department renders this more particularly necessary, lest I should 
be placed between two duties, to shrink from or to abandon one of 
which might be held dishonorable. 

Unless the Eastern people, or a British force to aid rebellion, should 
stir up civil war, I see no likelihood of military conflict within the U. 
States. There may be a conflict in Louisiana or Florida, and it may 
be found necessary to invade Canada, Nova Scotia, or even 'N. Found- 
land ; but these are to appearance remote events ; and as the military 
station I possess thro' your favor is not at all subject to more [than] 
the trouble of parade and such studies as duty or taste may lead to 
thro' that station, I can speak of the subject without any danger of 
being suspected of a wish to shrink from danger, if danger were immi- 
nent and my services called for. If there was danger, I should require 
to be placed in front of it ; there is none, and I may therefore without 
reserve state to you the motives of my present address. 

As any man could render as much service as I could in ordinary, 
and that therefore my loss or my absence would not be missed in any 
position that I could be placed by my rank in the army ; I have con- 
sidered, whether in the situation in which I am placed, there may not 
be danger of rendering what was intended for my honor and credit, the 
cause of my ruin and that of a numerous family — these considerations 
to which no man of morals and honor can be indifferent, have called 
upon me to state to you precisely how I am placed. 

You perfectly well know that the family of B. F. Bache has de- 
pended wholly and exclusively on me for subsistence and education. 
I have brought up his four charming boys, the eldest now 16, the 

* Jeff. MSS. 



318 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

other three progressively two years in succession younger, I have four 
younger children of my own by the mother of those sweet boys, beside 
my three elder children two of whom are married and have children 
and are in fact also dependent on me only. 

Were I free from pecuniary encumbrances, or so circumstanced as 
to make a provision for this numerous family, my personal obligations 
would be in some measure enlarged ; but as I stand in relation to these, 
and as the military pay of a lieutenant colonel could not much more 
than support myself, and must leave them destitute if I were to abandon 
my present means of support. 

But this is not all. I unfortunately encumbered myself with a debt 
of 22,000 dollars by making an establishment at Washington ; from 
which debt I have not been able at this time to clear off more than 4,000. 
So that I am now obliged to be dependent on Bank credits for that 
amount of 18,000 dollars. Were I to quit my present business upon 
the duty attached my rank while there is peace, I have no Doubt that 
in three weeks the banks would close my account, and that the little 
stock I possess in trade would be sold by a sheriff. As it is I am con- 
stantly harrassed with this bank influence, and it is not a little aggra- 
vated by the efforts made by officers of your appointment to increase 
this embarrassment and indeed to destroy me altogether. My affairs 
were no doubt brightening when the general storm of foreign outrage 
came on ; and now through great personal labor I manage still to keep 
progressing better instead of growing worse ; and a few years with the 
same assiduity and resolution would place me out of debt and render 
the remainder of my years easy and independent, as I should desire 
to be. 

There is however a suit pending against me in the Circuit Court be- 
fore Judge Washington. A Tory house at Boston searched throughout 
India and found the executors of a Doctor Nelson with whom I had 
commercial concerns, and in whose hands was found an old bond for 
500 Rupees (250 dollars) this bond was bought for 20 Rupees by the 
house in Boston, and a suit instituted against me for the amount with 
the interest of India 12 per cent per annum from the day of the date, 
that is from 1791 to this time, amounting to more than 2,000 $. This 
bond was in fact paid, but poor Nelson is dead, and I have ever been 
too indifferent about money to have been careful enough to see it can- 
celled. Yet I offered to pay it again, but nothing less than bond and 
interest too would be accepted, altho' I was plundered of ten thousand 
pounds and sent by force to Europe without crime or accusation. I 
have been particular in this case only to shew you how far Tory enmity 
will go for vengeance ; and to shew you the hazard which my family is 
exposed to and would be exposed to were I sent to any position so re- 
mote from hence as to endanger me at the banks, or carry me out of the 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 319 

range of the courts of law, in which I am doomed I fear to linger out 
my life. 

I have several suits and perhaps you may be surprised to learn that 
Mr. Snyder will not enter nolle prosequi s on the two suits instituted by 
Yrujo against me, and that I must continue to run the gauntlet of the 
courts under Snyder's administration as well as under McKean's. Dr. 
Romayne has instituted another suit against me for implicating him 
with Blount, and this is to be tried before Judge Washington, and a 
Jury summoned by a Marshal, who has as a Director of a Bank caused 
my credit to be sunk in that bank, and an investigation of my affairs by 
a committee of Bank Directors, some of whom were my most hostile 
political enemies. 

This exposition of my situation I have deemed necessary to shew 
you in order that whatever destination it may be intended to fix for me 
in relation to the military rank, it may be considered how far I ought 
to be or not to be kept in view. The summonses of law, and attend- 
ance on the courts, I am bound by bail and otherwise to attend. No 
doubt if a war were to take place I should risk all the consequences 
and join the army in defence of my country ; but as it is I cannot avoid 
nor would I evade them under any false colour of duty. 

It may perhaps be said I ought not to have accepted because I must 
have known my situation. When general Wilkinson first signified to 
me that such a thing was intended, I stated expressly, that unless there 
was a war I could not accept any military station ; but that in the event 
of a war, I would not refuse any ; and when it was tendered to me after- 
wards I inferred that it was the sign of an immediate war, I knew I 
could be useful and I instantly determined to accept. 

On the other hand I have been requested by some friends who know 
my situation now to resign, since the Senate have conferred the honor 
you proposed ; I have replied that would be repaying your kindness 
with such ingratitude as I could not be guilty of ; and which would be 
at this time at least unjust and ungenerous toward you. 

In this predicament I am placed. In the event of war, I am at the 
disposal of my country in any position they deem me fit for. But with- 
out the necessity existing, I could not accept of any remote station that 
would take me farther than two days journey from this place. As a 
new Secretary of war may not be selected from those gentlemen with 
whom I have always agreed in Politics ; and as there are several who 
tho' supporters of the administration have been very hostile to me, I 
think it necessary in such circumstances to put you to whom I am 
bound by gratitude and affection in possession of my real situation and 
my feelings. 

The emoluments of the Lt. Colonelcy are in my estimation nothing. 
I pay two of my clerks each a sum larger than the pay of that rank ; 



320 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

and should, if it was not that I have performed some useful service, 
not have accepted any pay ; but I have been really serviceable at Fort 
Mifflin and in the recruiting business here. 

You will soon have to retire from office, and I shall not while I live 
perhaps ever find a man like you to whom I can speak with the free- 
dom and the confidence of integrity reposing in the bosom of wisdom 
and benevoLence. To Mr. Madison I am very little known, and some 
of his friends who have done me a disservice and contributed to my 
embarrassments by their injustice will perhaps never forgive me, and 
render any usefulness that I might be capable of nugatory from a want 
of intelligence existing. 

If however any views which you may have as to me may induce you 
to think that I could be rendered useful, and particularly in any emer- 
gency when men of intelligent minds may be required, I shall hold 
myself bound to obey ; and if my opinions or suggestions, on any branch 
of public affairs that come within the range of an active and observing 
mind ; I shall be ever ready to obey any call that may be made on me. 
This letter I address to yourself with an assurance of my most affec- 
tionate and earnest wishes for your happiness. 



To Madison. 

Phil a May 3 d , 1809 

Respected Sir, — Public motives, such as I conceive calculated to 
render service to the interests and honor of your administration, induce 
me to take the liberty of addressing you. The unhappy conflict which 
has arisen out of the case of Olmstead is now quieted so far as the law 
and the parties in that case are involved. The Militia men who under a 
blind opinion of obedience to their superiors have trespassed are now 
imprisoned, Gen. Bright to 3 months and eight others to 1 month each 
— the former to pay 200 and each of the latter 50 dollars fine. 

Bright is a plain man of no cultivation, bred to the sea & rough as 
that element — he however served as a lieutenant in the military dur- 
ing the Revolution, and was a prisoner on board the floating dungeons 
at N. York, from which he made his escape by stratagem. He was 
once wealthy, but has been ruined by a partner of the name of Deihl, 
and is now in very indifferent circumstances; he is a truly honest man, 
but what is very common with such men, very liable to be imposed 
upon by knaves, such was his misfortune in the recent case, an involve- 
ment which is to be attributed wholly to the intrigues of Cha s Smith, 
son of the late Parton Smith who, having considerable landed property 
in arrear to the State, has labored with too much success to embroil 
the State, so as to produce such a change as may afford him means to 
avoid paying what he owes, amounting as I am told to 60,000 dollars. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DDANE. 321 

This man operating upon the want of understanding of Mr Snyder and 
the intriguing character of Mr Boileau, Secretary of the Commonwealth, 
a man superficial in every respect, but cunning and in that quality 
proficient even to profligacy ; Lay cock a member of assembly who is 
endeavoring to raise up a spirit of resistance on the questions long 
agitated concerning appeals in Land causes ; and Findley the State 
treasurer, a man more capable than any of the rest, but more close and 
insidious in his plans; these men are the real authors of the mischief; 
and it is this little junta who called in Smith, as a legal aid, because 
they had no man of legal education or of correct legal judgment amongst 
them ; and who resorted to him under the expectation of being served 
in their views ; he was to be rewarded with a seat on the Bench for 
his services ; but the bubble burst, and both parties are disappointed , 
Smith is not a Judge, and the case of Olmstead has established a prece- 
dent fatal to their projects. 

My conception of the case as it now stands is that as the law is 
satisfied, the clemency of the Executive promptly interposed would 
have the effect of frustrating the malignant purposes of those who are 
already seeking to engender feuds and divisions out of this case. My 
sole object in addressing you is to this end ; and the government would 
derive here much credit for a timely termination of the imprisonment 
Of those citizens ; it would be more decisive in such a case, if the act of 
release were communicated thro' some well known and avowed friend 
of your administration rather than thro' the formal channel of the law 
department ; since we already look forward to guard against the effects 
of these events on the political affairs of the state in three and four 
years hence. All the men are married men with families, excepting 
one only. 

I trust, Sir, that the motives of this address will find with you a kind 
reception, and excuse me for the liberty of making it, 
I have the honor to be with respect 

Your obed* Ser* 

W M DUANE 

I do not write under the expectation of an answer — my wish is to 
submit my ideas on the case to your judgment with fairness — and I 
make no doubt that you will decide as shall be in your judgment most 
conducive to the public interests. 

To Henry Dearborn. 

Phila. July 27. 1809 
Dr. Sir, — Immediately upon the receipt of yours of the 22d I set 
about the enquiry you wished me to make concerning Sheet Iron. 
Some days will elapse before I can advise you with certainty and in 

41 



322 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

such a way as to put you in possession of the best information. I have 
written to my old friend Col. Udree of Clay in Berks county, who is 
himself an eminent Iron-master and who supplies this city largely. 

Here as yet I can only learn that the cut nails are not made from 
what is called Sheet-iron, but from what is called hoop iron and nail 
rod iron ; the hoop iron wrought at our penitentiary here I believe 
costs about 10 cents the pound, but this is not from authentic informa- 
tion ; I write you now only to let you know that I have received your 
letter and will attend to it with great pleasure. 

The affairs with England are such as every rational man ought to 
have expected. I believe Jackson is sent to put us in that situation 
which must involve us in a war with France if we receive him, in war 
with England if we refuse him. I believe further that he is sent at 
the instigation of persons among us, that is persons in your State, for 
there can be no doubt of the facts lately published concerning S. Wil- 
liams' letter to Mr. Preble at Paris about the proposed separation of 
the Union. 

It is in my judgment the best policy of our government to procrasti- 
nate and wait for events in Europe, where we have in fact been best 
served and always rescued from impending peril. 

This will be best also to let our Ships come home again, all that shall 
be permitted! And those whose infamous clamours against the wise and 
protecting policy of their country, ought to be made to suffer by their 
own measure of open commerce ; in another point of view it will also be 
better, for you must know how utterly unfit our System is for war. 
What man is there who could stand the responsibility of any military 
undertaking or enterprize ; how could it be conducted under existing 
laws and a total want of organization, of System, of experience, of mili- 
tary knowledge ; when the principles of modern war are understood by 
scarcely ten men of the profession ; when we have artillerists who know 
not how to fire a cannon, and some of the oldest officers who never 
fired or saw fired a mortar. I speak to this point from experience where I 
was posted by you, and from the information of the officers themselves ; 
all whom I have conversed with speak in the same terms : and when 
on the 4th July I directed a detachment of 20 men from Fort Mifflin 
to march with our little corps to Phila. Capt. Read wished to be ex- 
cused, that there was not a man in his garrison who knew how to 
handle a spunge. If you were in your former station I should be 
apprehensive of stating this to you, and the same delicacy will prevail 
now as to Dr. Eustis • because it would be considered perhaps in a 
different light from the intention. Indeed my dear Sir, the opportunity 
you gave me by placing me in a military command has added to my 
knowledge at the same time that it has encreased my chagrin. The 
very structure of our military establishment is such, aud the indifference 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 323 

or the want of a discerning and creative power to give it form and 
vigor would be with me alone a full inducement to avoid by every 
means not abject the commencement of hostility. Suppose an expedi- 
tion were devised against Canada or Halifax, we should see Pickering 
in the Senate and Randolph in the other house immediately trans- 
formed into military critics, and by way of shewing their capacity to 
cavil at military designs they would expose and frustrate the best pos- 
sible plans; for when we see both houses of Congress led away on 
subjects which they ought to comprehend, how much more effectual 
would sophistry and plausible assertion operate where the orators and 
auditors were wholly ignorant of what they were talking about. This 
is strong, but it is true & honest language, which men in authority 
ought to hear, but which they will not regard until misfortune opens 
their eyes and ears and senses. 

I do not like to intrude upon men in authority, it is so much the 
fashion to do so only to ask favors ; and this asking of favors is so often 
the motive that it is not surprising it should be so thought. To Mr. 
Jefferson I could say any thing without fear of being mistaken ; I have 
too little acquaintance with Mr. Madison to take the liberty to volun- 
teer my ideas upon him ; tho' to all appearance for eight or ten years 
past I have been as little mistaken as if I had a constant communication 
with the heads of Departments. 

If I had an opportunity to address Mr. Madison now, I would say 
to him — Let Mr. Jackson come forth, let him exhibit his credentials 
and having taken a copy, treat him with a stern civility ; and as there 
is a precedent, if my memory serves me, during Gen. Washington's 
administration he might be informed in a finished note of diplomatic 
complaisance, that as the Senate are the constitutional advisers of the 
President his credentials would be laid before them ; upon any diffi- 
culty being made by him, the necessity of the case would be reinforced 
by the disavowal of Mr. Erskine's engagements ; and a willingness might 
then be expressed to listen to any evidence that Mr. Erskine had not 
been authorized to promise as he had done. 

A proposal might be made for an interview and reciprocal expositions 
of the instructions of both Mr. Erskine & Mr. Jackson ; or Mr. Erskine 
might be invited to exhibit his justification, or Mr. Jackson to shew he 
had not such instructions. A refusal to do either of these things would 
gain time for deliberation ; and care should be taken to guard the sea- 
ports against the usual companions and followers of Mr. Jackson. At 
Munich and Carlsruhe, he associated with Sir Arthur. 

Mr. Taylor organized that conspiracy to assassinate Bonaparte for 
which the Duke of Enghien was shot. 

If Mr. Erskine does not justify himself here, or offer what he con- 
siders as his justification, so that our government may say whether he 



324 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

was or not, it is not easy to discover how Jackson can be received and 
accredited. 

There could be no means so fit and suitable as a meeting of the Sec- 
retary of State and one or more of our heads of Departments with Mr. 
Erskine and Mr. Jackson, and an explicit communication of documents. 

If Lord Auckland (as is reported) should be sent he might also 
attend, and the Secty of State might report to the President & Senate 
the result ; and until this should be determined there might be a sus- 
pension of any reception of Jackson, whom in fact we cannot receive 
without going to war; and against whom a remonstrance and denial 
should go to England by the first dispatch or by a special vessel. 

These enquiries might afford time while such a message should be 
sent to Mr. Pinckney. 

I fear very much lest this new emissary who is sufficiently desper- 
ate for a leader of assassins, and if I mistake not was the person who 
negotiated the murder of the Emperor Paul, should produce serious 
mischief, for he will be furnished with every means of corruption. 

My best respects to Mrs. Dearborne. 

I am Dr Sir with sincere esteem yours. 

To Madison. 

Nov. 1, 1809 
Sir, — M r Christopher Fitzsimmons of Charleston, South Carolina, 
and M r Hugh Calhoun of Philadelphia, the former one of the most 
respectable men in his respectable State, & a zealous friend to your 
principles and measures, and those of your predecessor — M r Calhoun is 
a merchant of this city, of the same principles. 

They persuade themselves and flatter me, that the best manner they 
could obtain an introduction to you is by handing a note from me ; you 
will perceive, Sir, that it is more a wish that this should be real than a 
consciousness that I am entitled to it which induces me to comply with 
their wish, you will however excuse me when you know M r Fitz- 
simmons as well as M r Calhoun. 

Accept Sir my most respectful wishes 

Y r obed 1 Ser 
Phil a Nov 1, 1809. 

To Madison, 

Phil a 1. Dec'. 1809 
Sir, — Every man owes to his country the best services of which he 
is capable ; if in an upright zeal to fulfil this obligation a man may 
overate the value of his conceptions, the intention to do good will at 
once excuse the attempt and apologize for whatever trouble he may 
give in communicating the result of his reflections. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 325 

In the present situation of the national affairs, and considering that 
the uniform policy of the belligerents is now irrevocably fixt, as well 
as by fear and necessity on the part of Great Britain, as by interest 
and the pride of triumph on the other, that course which is best adapted 
to the interests and policy of the United States, tho' it cannot be very 
well mistaken by men of sober minds, is not so easily pursued directly 
as it would be were the attacks upon the nation open instead of insidi- 
ous — or by other weapons than those of diplomacy and intrigue. 

The country has not been more united on any occasion perhaps since 
the revolution as on the present occasion ; the attack on the Chesa<= 
peake struck the influence of England to its foundations ; and had 
Congress maintained the Embargo and called forth the Militia of Massa- 
chusetts only to enforce the laws ; that influence could never have 
reared its crest ; the Mission of Rose would have been a mission of 
temporary accommodation at least ; and instead of the broken engage- 
ments of Erskine, and the contumacious audacity of Jackson, we should 
now have had either the open commerce of the World or the applause 
and respect of mankind as our passport to the friendship of nations after 
a peace shall have been established. 

It is now a matter of the first importance to consider how the nation 
can best act under the present aspect of human affairs. It is morally 
certain that a peace whenever it takes place will be followed by an 
establishment of some fixt rules of law by which the nations who shall 
concur in them will be governed in their intercourse with each other ; 
that some code analogous to the principles recognized in the writings 
of Barlow, Paine, Azzuni, and more early asserted by the Armed Neu- 
trality of 1780, tho' not in so enlarged a sense ; and that such nations 
as may either withhold their concurrence, or refuse to maintain them 
will be placed out of the law of civil society. The first question then is 
what course ought the United States to pursue in such circumstances? 

This question however cannot be determined until a previous en- 
quiry is made, what can the U. S. do under such circumstances ? After 
this is examined the path appears not to be incumbered with any serious 
difficulties ; and even this question can be met with perfect confidence 
and security if the Representatives of the people do not again abandon 
the executive ; or that the executive determines to support the laws of 
the land whenever they are established. It is not my intention to say 
that the Executive did not act with a discretion truly benignant at the 
period when Massachusetts appeared to threaten a dissolution of the 
Union ; but I am still convinced that had the Militia of Massachusetts 
or only 5000 men been embodied that the government and laws of the 
Union would have triumphed, and that there neither would have been 
a life lost nor a factious collusion with the agents of England exhibited 
since. 



326 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

What can we now do ? This question involves others, and particu- 
larly this ; are there any means by which the national sentiment can be 
concentrated so as to bid defiance to every movement or menace of 
faction. It is not necessary to my present purpose to enter into the 
discussion of any collateral questions, since my intention is to offer the 
suggestions of my mind on this point alone. If this point can be ac- 
complished the choice of means and measures afterwards will not be 
uncertain. If what I conceive proper to be pursued should yet fall 
short of the extent of advantage which I anticipate, even then we 
should not in any case be in a worse situation than we are without 
doing any thing ; and if I conceive right all that the most benevolent 
wishes or the most zealous virtue could desire would be attempted 
by us. 

The policy of the government and the real happiness of the people 
have concurred in rendering the nation adverse to the calamitous resort 
of war. The impossibility of raising large armies, as well as the unex- 
aggerated danger of such establishments have the same operation ; and 
the want of objects sufficiently contiguous to tempt enterprize, damps 
in a great degree the ardor of those whose military passions would be 
excited to a dangerous extent, were the temptations nearer at hand. 
It is impossible for this nation then to go to war, but when the whole 
people are united, when it is a sentiment of common danger or common 
resentment. Let me add another reason, the total want of a military 
system, or speaking largely of military ideas, incapacitates the U. S. 
from going to war by land. 

Under all these difficulties if we were called upon for defense, the 
sense of danger would supersede the arrangements of policy : and the 
systems which we are now wholty destitute of would (tho' with a 
large purchase of blood) grow out of our dangers ; we should as in the 
Revolution and as Peter the Great acquired his knowledge learn to 
conquer by being often defeated. I conceive war may be avoided. 
The purpose of this address is to suggest my ideas of the means. 

Having exhausted all the artifices of Diplomacy, the British govern- 
ment will be governed in her deportment to us by the prospects which 
she may have in Europe. She will not abandon her policy of monop- 
oly, unless perhaps for a temporary resting time, as at the peace of 
Amiens. If there should appear to be a prospect of stirring up another 
war on the continent, she would again go to war ; or so soon as the 
French should have built a navy equal in number to her own, that 
moment or before it war would be again renewed ; and we should 
experience in a more tense tyranny the encrease of those oppressions 
for which he has established the precedents within a few years. The 
orders of Council and the proclamations of 1807 and 1808 would like 
the rule of 1756 be preached up — as the established law of nations ; and 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 327 

the leisure of a temporary peace would have quieted down those re- 
sentments which now prevail against her tyranny as those which prevailed 
in the revolution were extinguished by the strange revolution produced 
by the British Treaty. 

It is a very common opinion, that if all the nations of Europe were 
decidedly against England, she would be induced to make peace with 
us. Those who conceive such ideas may perhaps know the English 
policy better than I do ; but as I can form no judgment but by my own 
study and observation, by a residence of several years at the theatre 
of which they act ; by a personal acquaintance with many of the most dis- 
tinguished men of the age in that country ; and by habits and pursuits well 
adapted to investigate as well as to acquire a knowledge of their policy. 

If the whole of the nations of Europe should, and I am persuaded 
they must, become hostile to English policy ; I am satisfied by reflection 
that England will not abate her policy towards the U. States, because 
as she exists by commerce only, and as we are in truth the most for- 
midable rival in the commercial world ; it would be her interest to 
interrupt if she could not destroy our prosperity ; her policy would 
lead her to do that on a large scale which she has done on a small ; 
she has encouraged the conflagration of our growing factories and 
would conflagrate our cities and towns; she would not suffer our ships 
to go to the continent without paying a transit or tribute duty, she would 
[not] suffer our ships to pursue even our accustomed commerce in time 
of peace : the same policy leads to annihilate our trade altogether ; and it 
is not the want of inclination but of ability that prevents it. 

Two all powerful motives impel the U. States to determine now and 
to satisfy the world of its policy; 1. The national Interests as they 
concern the body of the nation in their individual situation 2 The 
national Interests in their relations with civilized nations. We are now 
called upon to preserve and to maintain both ; and if we lose this time 
we shall never again possess occasions so favourable to our fortunes 
and to the honor of the nation. 

Ail these objects can be obtained in my opinion without war — by a 
measure founded on the principles of neutrality as they were asserted 
in 1780, accompanied by a declaration of Retaliation, which should go 
to every thing but human life. To exemplify the method in which the 
government might proceed, I will take the liberty of specifying in a 
loose way the particular course and the manner that seems to me best 
to be adopted in prosecuting the measures. 

The outrage on the Chesapeake is in every respect marked by the 
atrocity of the design and the perpetration, by the contumelious carrying 
away several, and hanging of one of the captives ; by the unpunished 
impunity of the authors and perpetrators ; and by the repeated insults 
& refusals of justice which have followed it. 



328 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

A law of Congress might authorise reprisals, either in that special 
case, or which would be more decisive in ail cases ; the seizure of man 
for man, British subjects for American citizens, and the detention of 
the persons seized as hostages for the security and safe return of the 
persons taken unlawfully from on board any American ship. The 
principle to be extended to ships ; ship for ship, dollar for dollar ; and 
in failure of ships or merchandize, the retaliating principle to be ex- 
tended to every other species of British property; dollar for dollar, 
together with expenses. , 

The law of Congress recognizing these principles might be issued 
with a public Declaration of the intentions of the United States, to be 
issued by the Executive ; wherein the injuries sustained might be set 
forth, and the long forbearance exhibited ; that even now the Gov 1 of 
the U States deprecates war & the destruction of the lives of the 
unoffending citizens of any country for the offences committed by their 
rulers ; that after repeated efforts had failed to obtain the restoration 
of the citizens of the U States without any other effect than a renewal 
of insult ; the Gov 1 was now disposed to take another recourse to avoid 
if possible the greater calamities of war, by taking as hostages wherever 
found British subjects in number equal to the number of persons taken 
from on board the Chesapeake, to the number killed and to the num- 
ber maimed ; and that those hostages should be detained and put to 
employments suited to their capacities, and the surplus of whatever 
they might by their industry acquire to be applied to the support of 
the injured or the survivors of those who were killed, maimed or taken 
away from on board the Chesapeake, until such time as the British 
government should restore those now in their custody and remunerate 
as might be agreed upon the survivors of the murdered and injured. 

The proceeding in the initiatory process of such a course of meas- 
ures point themselves out ; and I only offer my conceptions be- 
cause I do not wish to leave the subject incomplete. The minister 
of the U. S. might make a formal demand of the persons at the court 
of London, and signify the indisposition of the U. S. to resort to an 
ancient usage, that of taking hostages ; or this might follow the first 
requisition ; he might in the course of the correspondence signify that 
the United States would in future take hostages and make levies on 
property to the full amount of all illegal captures or detentions made 
by our nation ; and might still strongly and strenuously argue upon the 
humanity of such a course in preference to the shedding of the blood 
of the unoffending. 

I persuade myself that this recourse would have all the important 
effects which I set out with assuming as necessary ; and other effects 
equally important. The people of the U. S. would have reason to be 
proud of another step in national policy towards the avoidance and 
abolition of war ; they would see in the act of taking hostages for the 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 329 

restoration of the captives, a regard to their own security in future ; 
(a regard too little attended to hitherto either in the eye of policy or 
humanity) ; they would find the government humane and yet just ; 
faithful to itself and yet more generous than other nations in sparing 
the blood of the innocent ; with regard to foreign nations, it would make 
every people our friends, because the people of every country are the 
sufferers and the governors alone are those who do not suffer, our ex- 
ample would then be the touchstone of respect, and esteem would even 
take place of hostility in the bosom of the very nation that injured us ; 
while the hostages we should secure would assure us negociators in the 
very bosom of the hostile nation whose cries would be respected where 
our complaints of wrong have only provoked derision ; and become the 
jest of profligate ministers and the topics of their midnight debauches. 

There is one more point of view in which this project of retaliation 
on hostages may be taken. It may be said that it would produce an 
immediate declaration of war on the part of Great Britain. This would 
perhaps depend in the first instance on the mode in which the subject 
should be promulged ; or on incidents over which we have no control. 
I am of opinion that she will yet make war upon us ; and I am persuaded 
as well from the choice of their last Ambassador as well as from the 
correspondence of his style here with his style in Denmark, that he was 
intended as the touchstone by which the measure of our patience was 
to be tried before actual war was resorted to. In this last case then 
war would not be the effect of our measure of benevolent policy, but 
of their intolerable envy and monopoly. 

It would then remain to be enquired whether upon their making 
actual war, that is making war without landing an army or invading our 
territory, the policy of retaliation and hostages would not still be a 
judicious one so long as they should refrain from outrage on our terri- 
tory. Making war upon our ships at sea, our ships might be authorised 
to arm for defence ; and a declaration to this effect might be published. 

Among the good effects of the retaliation by hostages, the country 
would soon be cleared of many detestable characters that are now lurk- 
ing about our cities. Others whose disaffection contributes to sustain 
that hostility to the government so visible in our cities would be re- 
pressed by public opinion or by a sense of danger. The nation once 
roused by a measure so humane and yet decisive would not suffer the 
calumny that has been poured forth with impunity. 

But the most important consideration in my view is the great proba- 
bility that it would produce a great effect, upon public sentiment in 
England and compel the administration to restore all our impressed 
Citizens and to refrain from their capture in future. Should any dec- 
laration be issued in such an event, it seems to me that it would be 
wise to establish the principle as a permanent one, that of taking 

42 



330 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

hostages and sequestrating property in retaliation and declaring that 
such would be the policy of the U. S. at all times in j>reference to war. 
Such Sir are the ideas that present themselves to me, thrown to- 
gether without reperusal or taking a copy, which my avocations do not 
admit me the leisure to do. I submit it to your liberality, and offer 
it as a testimony of my zeal and good intentions, whatever may be the 
degree of regard to which it is entitled. 

I am Sir your obed Ser 

W M Duane 
James Madison Esq. Pres* of the U. States 

To Madison. 

Phil a 5 Deer 1809 

Sir, — I have revolved for some time in my mind the ideas which 
in a crude form I have taken the liberty of addressing to you. I pre- 
sume not to set any higher value on them than liberal intentions and 
an enthusiastic devotion to the principles and durability of Republican 
Government may give them. I neither look for an answer nor do I 
wish for any thing more than the gratification of endeavoring to pro- 
mote what is honorable and glorious to my country. 

If this should be acceptable or not intrusive on your time, I should 
take the liberty of addressing to you my ideas on the institution of a 
national Bank, the basis of which should be public lands, shares repre- 
senting acres to a certain amount ; the acres to be taken at a limitted 
period by the holder and the stock to go to the public ; or the holder of 
stock to have his option of Cash for the share in Bank ; and the land 
to become either the object of purchase at the rate of lands at the mo- 
ment, or to become the representative of new shares ; the objects of the 
plan, would be — 1 To unite all the Eastern Bank holders by the tie 
of property in Southern lands; to make the reduction of Interest to 
5 per Cent a part of the establishment, and by combining the shares 
in Bank with property in land to cut off the pestilential influence which 
foreign stock and bank jobbers have on all our national concerns. In 
fact I have suggested the outline already ; to a mind like Mr. Gallatin's 
such a plan would at once present itself in a manner that would give 
it form and efficacy, and I persuade myself that the useful objects which 
I have suggested would naturally grow out of it — Objects which I need 
not describe the vast importance of. I wish however not to be known 
as suggesting the subject, because such a matter should stand upon its 
own foundations without prejudice or partiality to its author — circum- 
stances which too often interfere with human interests & happiness. 

Excuse this trouble and permit me to subscribe myself your friend & 
respectful hunb S l 

W M Duane 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 331 

To Madison. 

Phil a Dec r 8, 1809 

Sir, — I took the liberty of placing before you some few ideas on 
the subject of an application of the principle of a security in land for 
an investment of cash in Bank Stock at a reduced interest. It has 
since occurred to me, that as the impost may probably fall short of the 
sum requisite for exigency, that a resort to an investiture of land to 
cover a public loan would not only enable the administration to raise 
an immense sum, but to defeat at a stroke the clamour which the 
enemies of the government would not fail to raise in the event of any 
necessity for a money loan. 

It appears to me that the occasion should now be used to raise a very 
large sum in that way, so that if the nation should be involved in war 
there may be a provision for its calls in advance ; for I very much fear 
there has not been as full a consideration of the necessary amount [of] 
expenditures as would seem to be necessary among the members of that 
part of the government who hold the purse; and that the want of a 
due knowledge of what ought to be done would cripple the executive 
to a degree more pernicious than the efforts of an enemy. 

My conception of the method of raising a supply I shall take the 
liberty of stating, merely to explain what I suggest, & not presuming 
to decide upon its being very excellent much less infallible, but barely 
giving it as a suggestion which in abler hands may be made something of. 

I would raise a sum equal to three or four years of the usual revenue 
of the United States. This besides being provident in fact, would be a 
valuable measure on the surface of affairs, indicating the determination 
to be prepared in earnest for defence. 

For every million of dollars to be raised, I would suggest the appro- 
priation of half a million of acres of public lands ; the lands to be sur- 
veyed in the course of the year ensuing and in ranges after the plan of 
the Ohio Military lands. The tracts surveyed should be in more than 
ten or 20000 acres in any section or territory ; or each of these tracts 
should be at least 50 miles apart ; and there might be some limit to the 
right of purchase for any one person of more than a certain number of 
acres. 

It would not be difficult, from an investigation of the sales of public 
lands for some years past, and other means, to ascertain the progressive 
rise in various lands before and after survey and sale. 

The loan upon lands might be made in such a way as — first to 
obtain the money at a very low interest. 

Secondly — that an option to retain the lands or receive a [blank] per 
cent stock at the end of six years, or one year after a war ; redeemable 
in [blank] years. 



332 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Thirdly the loan when raised to be placed in public funds, so as that 
what should be over the public demand might be made productive in 
either reducing part of the old public debt ; or in constructing some 
great roads or canals to facilitate intercourse and promote public 
prosperity. 

As the ideas of the principle are ail that are necessary, details being 
superfluous if the principles are not practicable, I think it unnecessary 
to intrude further upon your time. 

I do not look for any answer, if the thoughts are of any use that is 
all I look for — if not, I am not willing to trespass on you for the mere 
ceremony of a note when I know the paper must reach you. I am, Sir, 
with respect 

Your obed Ser f 



To Dearborn. 



W M Duane 



Phila. Jan. 21. 1810 



Dear and esteemed Friend, —I had the pleasure of receiving 
yours of the 13th instant this day only. You surprize me very much 
by informing me that the little controversy in the Essex Register has 
proceeded from your son ; you know the zeal that I have pursued 
military studies with, and the apprehensions which I feel lest we 
should be lulled into a fatal confidence. The world is not now as it was 
in 1775. The British had not been military men since the days of 
Marlborough, with him and Lord Peterborough the British saw the 
last of their generals ; for Wolf and the Marquis of Granby, derived 
their reputation from causes not at all arising out of personal talent. 
Our system before Steuben's introduction of the modified Prussian was 
bad ; and yet perhaps you may remember that there were great clamours 
and some resignations upon the introduction of Steuben ; the British 
General Williamson endeavoured to establish a good discipline in 
the British army, but the courtiers were jealous of him, and Gen. Sir 
William Howe who followed Williamson, was only an imitator, with- 
out the genius of Williamson whose principles were sound and corre- 
spond very much with modern tactics ; but they were never adopted 
through envy and jealousy of the man who had talents. The revolu- 
tion found us and the British found themselves in this discord on a 
subject which above all others requires simplicity and unity of princi- 
ples ; every British regiment was differently organized, and when any 
two met, they were incapable of being exercised together ; they did not 
understand each others words of command or mode of evolution. Wolf, 
Bland, Haldimand, all had different systems, and every colonel had one 
different from them ; this gave the raw troops of Massachusetts a great 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 333 

advantage ; and a want of a correct discipline in the British was as much 
in our favor as any other circumstance. 

The example of Prussia in the seven years war, and of France in 
the present day, demonstrates the force and importance of discipline ; 
and the disadvantage and misfortune of a want of it ; my efforts for 
several years have been directed to dissipate erroneous ideas and 
establish correct opinions on those subjects ; but I find a mass of pre- 
judice as well as some jealousy ; I content myself in combatting the 
prejudices because jealousy is rather a compliment. 

When the article appeared in the Essex Register, I thought it was a 
good occasion to draw public attention particularly in Massachusetts 
to correct ideas, and I wished for nothing more than the controversy 
should be kept up amicably, in order to exemplify what is the fact, 
that the modern discipline is much more simple in its principles, and 
more agreeable and interesting to those who once get into the spirit of 
it than the old ; it is easier learned, easier taught, and easier practised ; 
and I was anxious that where the materials are so good, and the dis- 
position to do right so evident, it would be useful to address their minds 
in bold expressions conveying strict and indisputable truth, but yet so 
as to awaken both pride and reflection. This I hope will produce a 
spirit of enquiry, and where that takes place the approach to truth is 
certain. I hope nothing that I have said has given your worthy son pain 
or disquiet, nothing could be more remote from my wishes. If he looks 
at my purpose and the effects which I wished to produce he will excuse 
me now, and perhaps reflect with pleasure on the incident that may 
have awakened his mind to enquiry : Offer him my respected friend, 
my most affectionate wishes and if he is disposed to open a private 
correspondence and put any questions to me, if I can answer I will ; if 
I cannot with confidence I will certainly tell him so. 

I have written so much to you at once that I must tire you. I cannot 
therefore talk to you of politicks or anything else, but shall write you 
again in a few days. 

Give my most respectful and affectionate wishes to Mrs. Dearborne, 
and be so good as to mention me to Mr. & Mrs. Wingate when you 
write them next. 

Ever affectionately yours 

W M Duane 

To Madison. 

Phil a April 16, 1810 

Sir, — My Son W m J. Duane will have the honor to present you 
this note, going to Washington on a matter of business his own wishes 
and my desire would not suffer me to scruple taking this liberty of 
making him known to you. 



334 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

He goes to Washington with the View of prosecuting an undertaking 
which I formerly contemplated, the publication of an edition of the laws 
of the U. S. upon a plan which I had the honor, once personally and 
once by letter, to present to your attention. Any support which the 
undertaking may be entitled to, which you may consider yourself fairly 
authorised to bestow is all he seeks, and which given to him will be 
most grateful to, Sir, 

Your most obed and respectful Ser 1 

W M DUANE 

James Madison Esq r Presd 1 of U States 



To Dearborn. 

Phila. July 3, 1810 

My dear Sir, — I have this moment received yours of the 29th 
June, for the frankness, kindness, and confidence which it displays, I 
should be very cold of heart if I were not sensible. You do justice to 
my intentions and wishes, and altho' I do not agree with you as to the 
particular man of Pennsylvania whose conduct I consider as a primary 
cause of our present difficulties, I differ from you on nothing else. In 
my humble sphere as long as I have been capable of thinking I have 
decided for myself independent of all human control; and it is necessary 
for me to state and to shew this to you because you appear to think 
that my sentiments concerning Mr. Gallatin are produced either by the 
influence of Mr. Smith, or that Dr. Leib by some supposed association 
with the Smiths influences me. 

Impressions of this kind have been urged to me from other quarters 
and either there must have been a very uncommon concurrence in a 
mistake, or the impression has been made from one point upon many. 

You know very well how very different my real character is from 
that artificial character which the enmity of the federalists have set 
up for me, and put off as mine. Let me assure you that in the present 
instance I am as much misrepresented. From the Baltimore gentle- 
men, I never received any favors, whatever there has been between 
them and me has partaken more of injury to me (as far as it could go) 
than favor. I have never corresponded with either of them ; and if it 
so happens that they think as I think on public affairs, a circumstance 
of which I am no otherwise informed than by general rumor, and upon 
which I was not satisfied till I received yours ; for in fact I never had 
the good fortune to be favored with any communications from the Seat 
of Government, and have therefore been obliged at all times to depend 
on the resources of my own experience and judgment; very fortunately 
these resources have seldom failed me, and by pursuing the two simple 
rules of common sense and plain truth, I have been able to discharge 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 335 

my little ministry of the press with as much cause for self gratification 
as any of my cotemporaries. With the Baltimore gentlemen therefore 
I have neither intimacy nor correspondence, I seek none with them, 
and if I am not very much deceived they respect more than they love 
me. I shall never be on any other terms with them. So much for 
that point. On the other point, that of Dr. Leib; he and I have agreed 
and disagreed in politics now fourteen years without the one having ever 
changed the opinions of the other ; we have concurred in fundamental 
principles, and in pursuit of measures of policy we have seldom differed ; 
but we have seriously differed about men, many times, & act as distinctly 
upon each his own judgment as any two men of opposite politics. We 
have been linked together by those who could not bring either to be the 
instrument in destroying the other. Mr. Gallatin is one of those who 
made the formal overture to me at his own office in Washington to 
abandon Leib, or I should be destroyed politically myself; he is not 
the only one who made similar propositions. But the impression made 
upon my mind was not that of personal danger to myself but the infamy 
of the proposers. I never made Leib acquainted with the fact, tho' I 
stated it to Mr. Clay & to my Son ; but the very overture strengthened 
my esteem for Leib, because seeing his policy and principles naked at 
all times, I could not conceive how any man with honest views could 
imagine so foul a purpose, or imagine me capable of being a vile instru- 
ment in it. I am as independent of Leib, and no man knows it better 
than himself, as I am of the Smiths or of Gallatin, and I shall always 
remain so. As to his becoming a favorite with either I suspect not 
without grounds that you are not well informed ; I know Leib's opinions 
on the views and conduct of the parties generally and individually : I 
know what their deportment was towards Dr. Leib when he was in 
Congress, and it can scarcely be supposed that he can forget it. He 
has dined once or twice with one of them, but this as a Senator could 
not involve any partiality ; it was to Dr. L. no doubt acceptable that 
those who privately calumniated him six years ago should thus expiate 
their injustice by publicly caressing him. If they were sincere before, 
they must be inconsistent now, if they were hypocrites before they can- 
not be sincere now. Leib is not a man of dull capacity, he sees and 
decides as soon as any man I know. 

You see my dear Sir that I return your frankness in kind by shew- 
ing you the real state of my own mind and that of Dr. Leib. 

As to the circumstances which govern my publications in which Mr. 
Gallatin comes under notice, the publications themselves explain by 
the facts the motives which actuate me ; it is not/ liking nor dislike ; 
if personal considerations could at any time govern my political discus- 
sions I have nothing of the kind to bias me in relation to the one or 
the other. Superior motives actuate me, and whether the malice of 



336 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

party or the malignity of those who deem me above seduction, such as 
John Randolph, depreciate or condemn my principles of action, I feel 
in my heart the healthy consolement of an upright pursuit of what my 
conscience and stedfast judgment determines to be for the best interests 
of my country. If personal motives or a sense of personal injury could 
prevail over my principles of conduct, your successor in the War De- 
partment has put me to the test. But I know myself to be superior 
to every species of meanness. 

My opinion deliberately made up is, that Mr. Gallatin has been a 
principal operator of our present unhappy situation. I believe him not 
only to be a dangerous politician but unfaithful to his public trust. This 
is my honest opinion, and I appeal to the single fact of his revealing to 
John Randolph the confidential subjects of discussion between President 
Jefferson and his ministers is not enough of itself to cut up all confi- 
dence in the man for ever. I know the particulars of that subject in the 
most direct way, and am therefore not liable to be imposed upon by 
external impressions ; I know that we might now have Florida were 
it not for him ; and I have some reason to think that it was land specu- 
lation not a respect for the appropriation section of the Constitution 
which actuated him. 

If any thing more were wanting, look to the correspondence of Mr. 
Erskine laid before the British parliament, look at his scandalous con- 
duct there, are you aware that he said to Mr. Erskine that he Mr. G. 
had been years employed in efforts to wean Mr. Jefferson from his French 
attachments ; this has not been published to be sure but look at John 
Randplph's speeches, see Mr. Gallatin in constant secret intimacy with 
him ; see Macon as the dupe and the link that connects Gallatin and 
Randolph, see the Bills called Macon's No. 1 & 2. Mr. Findley, who 
overcame his former enmities sufficiently to write me, assured me that 
" Mr. Gallatin had the best motives in drafting those Bills! " & " that it 
was not to be inferred that he approved of them because he drafted them." 
Why sir this is the consummation of political fraud ; the utmost pains 
were taken to disseminate an opinion that Mr. Madison was the author 
of those Bills, and I know the men to whom he held two different 
opinions personally on the subject. Honesty, my dear sir, is the best 
of policy ; and a dishonest politician cannot be an honest man. 

I am opposed for the same reasons to every idea of playing off one 
minister against another. I would do in such a case as I would do with 
a domestic, fidelity to trust and pursuit of my best interests and wishes 
would be my criterions of confidence; if one of two deviated from these 
obligations I would dismiss him ; I do not admire the principle upon 
which Stanley Griswold was dismissed in Michigan, any more than the 
sacrifice of Wilkinson to appease the friends of a traitor, a government 
cannot endure which suffers such practices to supercede moral and 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 337 

political justice. If I would adopt any intermediate expedient, it would 
be to dismiss both ; for such is the unhappy frailty of human nature, that 
unless there is some decided mind to check the collisions of two men 
everything must go to disorder ; such as Mr. Gallatin inflated by the 
reputation which he has obtained (and it is many degrees above his 
natural mark !) and by the vast landed wealth which his situation has 
enabled him to amass ; and Mr. Smith vain by habit and by the weighty 
influence which his connexions and wealth give him, I say it will be 
impossible that the measures of- policy devised by the President, if they 
were the most wise that wisdom could suggest, can escape collision be- 
tween such conflicting passions. Washington has in fact become a 
theatre of intrigue ; it resembles the frippery and frivolity of a mon- 
archical court rather than the capital of a republic ; and what is very 
extraordinary, that man who like Sixtus V. before he was a cardinal 
and after he was a cardinal assumed a simplicity and modesty and disin- 
terestedness both in the sleekness of his tonsure and the homely texture of 
his garments ; whose table rivalled the primitive pastors of the church in 
scanty viands ; and whose threshold was never trodden by the foot of 
revelry or satiety ; — marvellous it is, Mr. Gallatin is a courtier, acts 
the petit maitre with as much vivace as if he had meant to enter into a 
competition with the Secretary of State. A droll fellow who drove the 
stage coach from Washington towards Baltimore uttered an anecdote one 
night which as it serves to illustrate the alteration I shall note tho' it is 
perhaps a little too severe and illnatured, tho' certainly characteristic ; a 
traveller sitting along side me, asked the driver " who lives in that house?" 
— " Lives ! " said the driver, " Lives ! why nobody lives there," " There' s 
light in the house " said the traveller — " O yes, the Secretary of the 
treasury and his family breathe there," said the Driver. This no doubt 
is caricature ; but caricature is often very like the original. The 
Driver could not now make so good a joke, for not only the Secretary 
lives but he feasts sumptuously every day, and what is more invites 
large companies to dine with him. I do not except to a man for living 
well, the quantity or quality of his food is nothing to me more than the 
form of his nose or his chin. I only notice these particulars, as illus- 
trative of the state of things. Your good lady, to whom tender my 
most respectful and affectionate wishes, will 1 am sure agree with me 
that a change so extraordinary cannot be merely accidental and without 
motive. 

I could say a great deal more on these subjects ; but I apprehend 
I have already tired you. I have, however, done justice to your con- 
fidence and to my own motives. 

In fine, my dear Sir, I shall maintain as I have done all along my 
personal independence in public discussions. My own opinion is that 
the Republican party must go to destruction if Mr. Gallatin continues, 

43 



338 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

and that Mr. Madison will be thrown out at the next election ; this I 
do not consider of so much moment on Mr. Madison's account or on 
that of the Public interests and the principles of the Government. When 
you first came to Washington those gentlemen belonged to a little cabal, 
which aimed to influence all public affairs in their own favor. I have 
had the proffered friendship and the subsequent enmity of them all in 
succession ; this party had a sort of beginning when you were first 
in Congress in this city, I believe in 1796. It was composed of an 
interest in four States — N. York, Penua. Maryland and Virginia. 
Ed. Livingston & A. Burr were the Yorkers — Gallatin and Dallas 
were the Pennsylvanians. The Smiths of Maryland and the Nicholases 
of Virginia. 

This little cabal has been curiously consorted — office and power and 
wealth was the aim of every man of them, I need not tell you how they 
have succeeded, & how they are now in conflict, I tell you more, it 
would not surprize me much to see the fragments reunited — and some 
one sacrificed to appease the manes of their pre-existing enmities. 

In this State so important a member of the Union, Gallatin acts the 
part of the demon of whom we read in Romances ; his influence cannot 
extend to any thing but mischief, and when I tell you that the Re- 
publican Legion is broken up so as to have not more than three com- 
panies in fact, and this thro' the agency of that influence, I need not say 
more ; because it marks the character by the tendency of the intrigues. 
I would not wound you by telling you particular instances in which the 
best of men and republicans in all times are persecuted through this 
cabalistical influence. Accept my dear Sir my most grateful & 
affectionate respects. 

Wm. Duane 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phil* July 16, 1810 

D R . and Respected Sir, — A desire to be preserved in your re- 
membrance has often led me to the verge of writing to you, but know- 
ing with what anxiety you retired from political concerns and the disgust 
you must naturally have felt at the recollection of the baseness you 
have seen and the unworthiness which prevails too much in all kinds 
of affairs, I preferred rather to trust to the ordinary incidents of my 
situation to retain me in your mind than to give you any trouble by 
direct letter. I need utter no expressions of my affection and attach- 
ment to you, it is not to flatter or to seek favor I ever approached 
you even in power ; out of power, my attachment has not abated be- 
cause you have no favor to bestow ; and it is with pain that I now in- 
trude upon your retired life with the enclosed paper, which is taken 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 339 

from a pamphlet published on the motion of Earl Grey by the house of 
Lords. There is a letter now in this city from Gobbet referring to this 
correspondence which has made some matter for discourse, and which 
has led me to seek the pamphlet. I presume it will be generally circu- 
lated here, as I understand it has been already on the continent of Europe, 

What the impression will be on the feelings and interests of the 
Virtuous part of the nation, it is not difficult to conceive ; but what the 
impression may be on the wicked, or rather the use which they make 
of it upon the weak, is not so easy to guess. I very much fear the 
effect of any man's influence, who could be capable of such villainous 
disregard of your name and reputation, and the sentiment I believe will 
be very general, whenever it comes before the public. 

For myself, the emotions which this letter has excited are not very 
easily described ; if the same feelings operate upon all those who revere 
you for your virtues and services ; what is to become of the adminis- 
tration, and what is of more importance the principles which elevated 
the administration to trust, and by which alone the country can remain 
free and happy. 

I very much fear that the course of politics indicated by this letter 
and other transactions of late date, will tend to involve our country 
in great calamities ; which, had your policy been faithfully pursued 
and maintained, we would have been assured against with all the world 
at our side. I cannot suffer myself to intrude more upon you, if I were 
satisfied that my writing to you would [not ?] interfere with your wishes 
to keep aloof from political vexations, I should certainly write you very 
largely on the subject of public affairs, which I very much fear are now 
in an unhappy train. 

I do not wish to obtain any opinions or answers of any kind for any 
use, but the gratification of my own feelings towards you and to know 
that I am not forgotten by you. At a future day I shall take the liberty 
of assigning to you my motive for relinquishing the honorable station 
in the army which your confidence and kindness placed me in ; I can 
say that as far as I had authority and command, no man of the same 
rank performed so much duty nor endeavoured more to serve the public ; 
this I think it fit to say to you, and I believe I have never forfeited 
my veracity with you. For your confidence and kindness to me be 
assured of my grateful remembrance, and as ever of the most ardent 
desire to render myself worthy of your continued Esteem. Ever 
dearest and respected Sir, your obed*. Serv 1 . 

To Jefferson. 

Phil* Aug. 17. 1810. 
D H & Respected Sir, — I have had the satisfaction to receive your 
very kind letter of the 12 instant. It is singular enough that I should 



340 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

have before me at the moment, a history of England in 4to, which I 
take to be the same which you mention. Several years ago you men- 
tioned the same book to me, and through Mr. G. P>ving then in 
London I obtained the book before me. Having just completed my 
Military Dictionary this day, I was turning over in my mind what book 
to put in hand; and I took this to look at it and give it a perusal in the 
intervals of my ordinary occupations. The book before me makes 
exactly 834 pages, and down to 1801. The last paragraph begins 
thus — "The master of his majesty's hunt prepared, &c," the 551 st 
page closes with The Bill of Rights and 552 begins Eara IV cap. 1. 
with William and Mary. I am thus particular, that you may be able 
to determine whether it is the same work or not; as it is my fixed 
purpose to print it. 

The other work which you are so good as to mention, if sent on, I 
can have put into hand immediately ; there is no difficulty in obtaining 
good translators here at present, and I will accept it with great satis- 
faction, and send you the proofs as you propose. I contemplated writ- 
ing to you frequently, but having heard of your desire to be retired, 
and it was reported that you even wished to remove to another part of 
Virginia, I concluded upon denying myself the grateful feelings which 
writing to or thinking of your generous and unabating friendship always 
produces rather than be one among the intruders upon your tranquillity. 
The paper I sent you and the perilous character of the times overcame 
my scruples. I shall not say anything to you on political affairs, for 
the same reasons that I have not before written you ; and pursuing the 
same principles and preserving under a more prosperous state of my 
personal affairs that independence which I maintained when in circum- 
stances heavily embarrassed ; I shall with the best capacity and the 
most steadfast purpose in my humble proviuce do every thing in my 
power for the good of my country. If I mistake, as on some occasions 
I have done, it will be only to discover the error and I shall not be too 
proud nor so dishonest as not to correct it. 

You may remember that I once proposed printing your Notes. I 
hold myself bound by that promise, and am now ready for it. If the 
Book (Baxter's Hume) be the same that I have got, I shall be able to 
put it to press very soon ; paper must be had in advance, and that 
requires at least two months preparation. 

The work from the French, I would go on with instantly having 
now only an Edition of Lind on Warm Climates, at press, to fill up the 
intervals of my Military Dictionary, which last being finished leaves 
me at liberty to go on with another. You have seen I make no doubt 
David Williams Lectures upon Montesquieu, from whom indeed I first 
learned to think of Montesquieu, as your commentator seems to think. 

There is another circumstance upon which I meant to write you on 



1906.1 LETTEKS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 341 

some day. It was mentioned to me, that on your passage through this 
city several years ago, Dr. Franklin put into your hands a manuscript, 
intreating you to keep it, and as the fittest person to trust it to ; that 
you' returned it, and it was put into your hands again ; but that on the 
death of that great man, you conceived yourself bound to put the manu- 
script in the hands of Mr. Temple Franklin as his grandfather's 
Legatee ; and thus it is lost to the world, unless a copy of it was pre- 
served by you for posterity ■ it was suggested to me that this was the 
case ; from what I learn of Mr. T. F's course in Paris, there appears 
to me no hope of the most valuable part of the Doctor's writings ever 
appearing; and it would be at least useful, if no copy exists, to be 
certain that this anecdote is truly stated. I have obtained from the 
venerable Cha 3 . Thomson, the Journals of Dr. F. Mr. Adams and Mr. 
Jay ; but Mr. Adams's late publications show how scanty his officially 
registered journal was. I was promised some more but although I have 
kept the Edition back now 18 months, with 4 volumes already printed 
ready for delivery, under [expectation] of gaining more materials for the 
biography, I have been disappointed. Perhaps you may possess frag- 
ments concerning him, epistolary or otherwise, that at a favorable 
moment you might oblige me with. I should have paid you my 
respects personally long since had I not determined to consider your 
resolutions in preference to my own wishes. 

I understood you intimated to some friend that there was antimony 
some where in your neighborhood, and that Mr. Tho": M. Randolph had 
also mentioned it. Independent of my solicitude to see the art of type 
founding flourish ; I have thought of making a type founder of Benj. F. 
Bache's second son — who we here call from his remarkable likeness to 
his Gr father — little Dr. Franklin; the boy has all the acuteness and 
expansion of mind of the original ; I have not been indifferent to keep 
the spark within him alive to all that is good and I derive unutterable 
delight to see the little flock mingled with my own rising above adver- 
sity and expelling the clouds with which the Aurora was surrounded 
when we met. The eldest son of Benjamin who has finished with 
eclat, distinguished above his compeers, the collegiate education which 
is acquired in our miserable university, is a fine young man and as 
virtuous as any in the country ; he is already as t{ ]\ as his father, pos- 
sesses all his sedateness and virtue. I believe him as innocent of every 
kind of vice as a child of four years old. I am yet undetermined what 
course to put [him] into, he is at present going through a course of 
historical reading, in which I have been his pilot, and geographer, and 
annotator. The other two boys of Benj. are equally promising. 

The Pestalozzi system proceeds with effect that will render it indU- 
tructihle and get it but once into general use — there is an end to error. 
Mr. Neef who conducts it seems as if there had been some particular 



342 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY [May, 

providence to prepare him for an undertaking so immensely important 
and requiring so many qualities of head and heart to fit him for it. 
I have a little fellow of 5^ years old with him, who already confounds 
me. I apprehend that very little is known of this inappreciable system 
and man. His book certainly gives a faithful outline ; but it is a feeble 
shade compared with the actual figure. If you could be amused with 
any account of it from me, it will afford me delight to give you some 
account of it as I see it, but I do not wish to trouble you with it, nor 
would I take the trouble unless I was sure it would be gratifying to 
you. 

Do me the favor to assure Mr. & Mrs. M. Randolph of my most 
sincere respects. 

I am Dr Sir ever affecty yours. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phil* Oct. 29tb 1810. 

Respected Sir, — I have just received the returned parcel of 
Manuscript. My motive for sending now the translation in the first 
instance was that you might judge and if you had leisure correct to your 
mind. My intention is to send you on the manuscript as fast as trans- 
lated and I can transcribe it ; I am not perfectly satisfied myself with 
the manner of the translation ; it is very difficult unless to a person 
equally conversant in both languages ; there are some passages very 
difficult. I fear that on this account it will be to you more troublesome 
than I could wish it to be ; the translation is generally too dry and 
frigid for the original ; and the whys and wherefores and moreovers 
are too frequent for the English idiom. The work the more I peruse 
[it] the more I am gratified and impressed with its importance, and feel 
a solicitude to see it before the public. The journeymen printers hav- 
ing what they call struck for wages, I have no book printing now going 
on, nor can I have until they return, or I teach boys the lighter parts 
of the printing art ; I mention this in order to shew that it is not 
through affectation or false delicacy I mention, that should it be suita- 
ble to you to pass over the whole, that I shall continue to send it as 
fast as I can transcribe it. 

I sent you along with the packet David Williams lectures on Mon- 
tesquieu, they are not equal to the ideas and lucid illustrations, nor to 
the genius that marks the Review of Montesquieu ; but they were bold 
in England ; I have a duplicate of it, and intend the copy sent as a 
small mark of my wish to contribute even in the slightest degree to 
your rational gratification. I have a copy of his pamphlet on liberty 
also, which tho' good in its day, and very good in a few pages, is not 
worth troubling you with. 

* Jeff. MSS. 



1006.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 343 

We have a number of persons lately arrived from different parts of 
the British dominions here, whose accounts exhibit pictures not merely 
deplorable but horrible — the crisis of that Government is certainly at 
hand, and it must be for the benefit of mankind. 

Some of the Russian under agents here appear in discourse very 
remarkably attached to G. B. and his policy. I refer to one particu- 
larly and that is Mr. Politika, a young man who really imagines he 
knows every thing in and about this country as well as if he had spent 
his life here. I only mention this fact, because from a correspondence 
you were once so good as to mention, I infer it may be kept up, and it 
may not be amiss to understand from a sure source the dispositions of 
agents. The conduct of Dashkoff appears uncommonly discreet and 
sensible. I know them both. Politika's temper I discovered in a 
conversation on Walsh's pamphlet, which requires to be answered. 
I am D r Sir with affection and respect. 

To Jefferson. 1 

Phila Jan. 25, 1811 

D K and Respected Sir, — I have just received yours of the 18 th 
and the copy accompanying it. You will be good enough never to 
attribute my not writing immediately to want of respect or to indif- 
ference. My avocations are so many and the pressure of them so con- 
stant, that it requires some dexterity to get thro' them. I shall now 
explain the hastiness of the last sheets. You will perceive they are all 
transcribed by myself. The person who began has translated the 
whole,, but it was not well done tho' he is capable. I am not perfectly 
competent to translate it myself, tho' I can very well judge both of the 
French and English whether it is well done. I therefore made the 
work a practical essay for myself, as well to enjoy the gratification it 
afforded me as to make my knowledge of the French better, and thus 
I have not merely transcribed, but I have as it were made the version 
throughout. Thus much will explain why I did not send the French 
original, and why I shall with your leave keep it to refer to, till the 
work is printed, which will be now very soon. It will be necessary, 
and since you approve of the manner, I shall be able with more confi- 
dence to remedy the defects of the latter part, of w ich I was conscious, 
but being anxious to hurry the whole on to you, and having no assistant 
of any kind to write or aid me in my paper at this critical time, and 
the foreman in the Aurora office who by knowing my mind was able to 
decypher all I wrote however hurried, and besides saved me the read- 
ing of proofs, of which I feel the labor as much as the celebrated Bayle, 
I have hurried the whole on depending too much on the translator, or 
rather not having time sufficient to chasten and arrange the language. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



34-i MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

I bespoke 5 months since from Binny and Ronaldson a fount of types 
to print the work elegantly — they have not yet put them in. These 
men are among the instances of fortunes caprices, they have acquired 
fortune by industry, and it has ruined them as men. I never knew men 
more estimable for simplicity and probity — they are now the reverse. 
I have applied to Mr. Carr, the best printer in this city, to undertake 
the printing for me of this work, for I was fool enough to empty all 
my half worn types into a heap and send them to B. & Ronaldson 
when type metal was scarce, and now I have no type of the size to 
print it upon — so that necessity on one hand and a desire to push the 
work out soon, has induced me to do this ; I have not had his answer 
yet ; but I shall if he cannot get it done by some one else. 
I am thus prolix in order that nothing may be unexplained. 
I shall go through the copy as it goes to the printer with the original 
in my hands and shall correct before I deliver it — and shall take care 
of the latter sheets. 

I have published one of the Chapters on money which has excited 
attention, tho' it was from a very indifferent translation. 

I have not been successful in my enquiries for the letter of Helvetius, 
or the Work of the Abbe de la Rochon, nor unless there should be 
some of the literary Frenchmen in N. York do I expect to succeed. 

Poor Warden is gone on to Washington in great tribulation — the 
intriguing there is afflicting to hear of. I sometimes begin to despair 
of the republic when I see so much villainy successful and so much 
virtue repressed and put down. 

J. Randolph is at his old freaks. He took his seat the 22, and intro- 
duced two pointers with him, which set up a barking when the members 
rose to speak. No one dared to turn the dogs out. The house ad- 
journed ; poor Willis Alston going out the dogs got between his legs, 
and had nearly thrown him down ; he struck the dogs, and John Ran- 
dolph who had a hickory stick beat Alston several times over the head 
and shoulders. Alston rushed upon him and some blows took place — 
but the members separated them. 

I do not like to trouble you with politics, but I cannot resist guarding 
you against impressions concerning me. Mr. G. W. Erving passing 
thro' here told me that it was believed in Washington that some of 
your nearest friends were persuaded that I had entered into some 
arrangements with Gen. Armstrong to promote him to the Presidency. 
You have seen and known me in times of peril and how little influence 
personal or pecuniary considerations have had on me ; I have not the 
same confidence because I was neither as well known nor had the same 
opportunities of being known as when you were at Washington. I 
think it fit to say to you whose esteem I covet and value more than any 
other that I ever possessed — that there is no foundation for such an 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 345 

idea. I have no personal views, and should the Bank be chartered, I 
may close my business here. I mean in that event to dispose of the 
Aurora to any capable person who will purchase it of the same princi- 
ples, and abandon a situation which is productive of many enmities, few 
friendships, and no adequate rewards ; while I continue in the station 
no man on earth could induce me to say or do what I think wrong, 
and I know no rule of action but that which to the best of my judgment 
conduces to the liberty, independence, and honor of my country. If I 
ever take a wrong step it will not be with consciousness that I do so, 
and few men in so trying a situation could steer thro' so difficult a 
station with so few blunders, and those few of so little moment. You 
will see, my dear good sir, my motives in expressing my feelings to 
you concerning myself. Ever affectionately and faithfully yours. 

That man Granger, disappointed of being nominated as a Judge — and 
he is better adapted for the ulterior office of Executive Justice — menaces 
to blow up the administration of Mr. Madison, and he has some of his 
schemes now in motion for that effect. I have no correspondence with 
any member of administration — not even Rodney — but you know I 
would not say this without foundation. 

To Jefferson^ 

PHiLf March 15, 1811. 

Respected Sir, — I have just received the last packet of the 
Manuscript, but it appears as if I was doomed to be the sport and the 
victim of my faithful adherence to those principles which that work so 
admirably illustrates. I should not invade your merited repose and 
happiness, with any complaints of mine, were it not necessary to account 
to you for the suspension of the work even after it had been begun. I 
have passed thro' the most laborious and intense application that I have 
experienced in any period of my [life], having literally devoted myself 
to what I conceived the sacred interests and rights of my country. The 
printers all. refusing to work, my foreman laid up since November with 
a debilitating rheumatism, and with none but raw b<pvs to compose and 
print a paper containing more matter and more manuscript matter than 
any paper in the country — and not only to write all, unassisted by a 
single individual, but to go through the drudgery of proofreading. My 
labor was rewarded by the cessation of the Bank and by a consciousness 
that my humble efforts had contributed something to that effect. 

I was looking forward to an active spring and summer, to the com- 
pletion of the life of Franklin, which I flattered myself would do me 
no discredit, and be not unworthy of the subject. But I had offended by 

1 Jeff. MSS. 
44 



346 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

the sincerity and the severity of my animadversions upon the conduct 
of Mr. John Randolph, and I am brought to the verge of a precipice, 
from which it is not possible to say whether I shall escape bsing dashed 
to pieces. I have formerly mentioned to you the cruel consequences which 
ensued from my making the establishment at Washington, and the cruel 
persecution set on foot by J. G. Jackson and Mat. Lyon, which left me 
with an establishment that cost 22000 $ all a debt incurred and unpaid, 
when at the moment that promised to be profitable, the cruel infidelity 
of the Republicans to a faithful centinel left it next to useless, and 
compelled me to abandon it to another for a sum not one third of what 
it cost me. 

As my Credit was derived from Banks, I was obliged to have in- 
dorsers, and I have during these ten years been in the situation of 
a man who in a small company saw himself exposed to the vollies of 
a numerous enemy, and the little band either sinking one by one into 
the slumber of death or flying into the arms of the enemy and turn- 
ing their weapons upon me, until at length I find myself without ever 
once abandoning a principle or betraying any confidence ever reposed 
in me, standing almost alone. 

The friendship which subsisted between Mr. Joseph Clay and myself 
you cannot have been at least a stranger to. The sentiments entertained 
by Mr. Thomas Leiper, you well know concerning me. I am the same 
in every respect, but they are no longer my friends — in short they 
menace me at this moment with ruin. 

When Mr. Clay could not obtain credit for 100 dollars at any Bank 
here, my credit and name obtained for him from five to eight thousand 
dollars. Since his father's death he has released me from this share of 
burden, but he had as men fell off from the republican ranks stept into 
their shoes until he became my endorser for 5000 $, part of the debt 
incurred at Washington and for which I have been paying interest ever 
since. Mr. Leiper in the same way became my indorser for 3000 $. 

The various attempts of the U. S. Bank to ruin me have all failed as 
I took care never to have any account with them. From the other 
banks I could have had and was invited to take but did not take 
10,000 $ more than I had ever required. The following events have 
taken place within four days. 

I applied for about 1000 $ out of about 15000 that had been due to 
me at the Treasury Comptroller's department for some years. The Con- 
troller was prepared to pay, but the Secretary of the Treasury made 
application at all the other offices to know it I had any unsettled accounts. 
Simmons the War office accountant reported that I had an unsettled ac- 
count, but I never had any account with him nor in his branch of public 
duty. I had raised a number of recruits here for which I drew 1700 $ and 
expended 1676 $ for which I furnished the vouchers — leaving on that 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 347 

account a balance of 24 $. But long before that I had caused 100 $ 
to be deposited with the Paymaster Mr. Brent, who reported to the 
Controller that there was not any likelihood of my owing any thing ; 
In fact I left two months pay undrawn, and I never presented a contin- 
gent account, so that instead of my owing there will be due to me about 
400 $ from the War Department. This 1000 $ which I required was 
to meet an engagement here. 

The next day after advice of this Mr. Leiper notified me that he 
would no longer lend me his name. 

The same day Mr. Joseph Clay wrote a letter to my bookkeeper of 
which the following is an exact copy. 

(copy) 

Sir The causes of my refusal are the groundless and unwarrantable 
attacks in the Aurora on my friends ; particularly on Mr. Randolph. 
I never will lend the support of my name to such conduct. If Mr. Duane 
chooses to continue it, he must look to others for relief. Mr. Duane is 
at perfect liberty to pursue that course of political conduct which to him 
may seem correct; but the abuse of men whom I esteem cannot be 
either a necessary or justifiable means of convincing the public of the 
wisdom of any measures of which he may become the advocate. I am, 
Sir, your obed Ser\ 

(Signed) Joseph Clay 
March 13. 1811. 

Of the letter I need say nothing, but the effect of this combined 
denial of my property at the treasury, this odious persecution of Mr. 
Leiper and Mr. Clay, leave me unable to raise 9000 $, for their con- 
duct is no secret and Mr. Leiper has avowed his purpose to put down, the 
Aurora ! 

This history is prolix, but I know no one to whom I can relate it 
so properly as yourself, who know my principles and my public conduct ; 
this is the more barbarous on the part of Mr. Clay inasmuch as he was 
one of my predecessor's trustees and guardians of those children whom 
instead of the public I have honorably and affectionrtely reared ; they 
must suffer the same fate with me, because Mr. Dallas has given it as 
his opinion that the children of Ben. F. Bache cannot inherit any part, 
of Dr. Franklin's estate ! His daughter having married one of the 
brothers of my predecessor! 

I am aware that this narrative will give you some pain, but my dear 
Sir, to whom must I pour out my feelings if not to you whom those 
that are faithful to the republic love and with whose esteem I have been 
so particularly favored. 

I have advertised my property in books for sale, but I cannot owing 
to the presence of foreign commercial affairs upon the community not 



348 MASSACHUSETTS HISTOKICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

been able to make any sale tho' I offered books to the value of ten 
thousand dollars for 5000 cash, or even for endorsements for nine or 12 
months, by which time I should be able to repay the whole with interest. 
The four volumes of Franklin's works with plates are all printed and 
at two and a half dollars a volume, these alone are worth 20,000 
dollars. I have even offered them at a reduced price engaging or for- 
feit the whole to have the Memoirs written and printed by the 4 th of 
July next. 

Here I can look to no one. Is there not in Virginia where I have been 
so much flattered for my public services public spirit to interpose and 
save the Aurora and its Editor from the fangs of John Randolph's 
creature. I would not accept a present from any man, I would beg 
sooner than be the slave of any man's monied present ; but I should 
accept of a loan of 8000 dollars which I should repay with interest in 
the course of the present year, would save me from the danger that 
impends, and which I can barely ward off from day to day perhaps 
for eight or ten days, and even then with difficulty. 

The effect on the Republican interest, you must be sensible will not 
be a little should I be ruined. I have already suffered enough from 
the instability of public men and their disregard of the services of an 
incorruptible and inflexible man in support of the vital interests of the 
nation. 

In this situation, respected Sir, it is impossible for me to say when 
I shall be able to proceed with the commentary on Montesquieu. If 
free from this I should go on immediately and once free from this di- 
lemma, should never place myself in the power of the caprice of any 
man again. 

I trust that with your usual kindness this will meet indulgence. 
With affectionate respect 

Yours ever faithfully. 

If 80 gentlemen would lend me 100 dollars each, payable in 9, 12, 15 
months, it would not only save me, but I should be able to pay it in 
cash in these periods and get out of Bank altogether. It is to those in 
whom I have confidence and who have confidence in me that I can ven- 
ture to make such suggestions. If I were a villain I need have no 
pecuniary necessity. 

To Jefferson} 

Phil* July 5, 1811 

Sir, — By the Mail of this day, I forward you a single copy of the 

Review of Montesquieu. I hope you will find it executed in a style of 

neatness not discreditable to the work nor to the American press. By 

printing it on a larger type and a smaller page, it might have been 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 349 

made a large volume, but I believe it will be considered as preferable 
in its present form by those who prefer a book for its contents rather 
than by weight or measure. 

I have ventured to place two short paragraphs from Hobbes and 
Beccarria, as mottoes to the title page, containing applicable truths, and 
at least not inconsistent with its spirit; it was done merely to comply 
with a fashion rather than any other motive. 

The price which I have put it to sale at is governed by two consid- 
erations, the expense incurred and the expense to be incurred in 
circulating it. I have printed 750 copies, and must pay 25 per cent 
out of the price only for circulating it, that being the sum agreed upon 
with the man I employ to obtain subscribers and deliver works ; should 
this edition sell sufficiently soon, it will determine whether or not it 
would be advisable to print another edition at a lower price, and that 
will be known by the demand and the impression which the work 
makes; it is too soon to form any judgment here, as my political sins 
of several years prevents the light of my door from being darkened by 
federal shadows. 

I trust you will excuse my not having written in answer to your two 
letters of 28 March and May 1. They excited in my breast very pain- 
ful feelings, and as I could not touch the subjects to which they related 
without expressing my sentiments explicitly and fairly, I judged it 
preferable to be silent, perfectly satisfied with my own integrity and 
indifferent to the frowns or favors of mankind thus fortified. 

If the book is in the form which you suggested as adapted for send- 
ing abroad, I shall send you the ten copies which you were pleased to 
order ; or if there should be any other form of binding or putting 
together, with thinner covers in the manner of French works, I shall 
have them executed to your wish, having bookbinders in my own house. 
I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient ser 1 - 

To Jefferson} 

^hila. July 17, 1812 

Respected Sir, — I should have answered yolr obliging letter of 
the 20 th April, had my mind not been kept in agitation by the pressure 
which I began to feel heavily in consequence of my opposition to the 
U. S. Bank, and which, although I have in effect surmounted, has left 
me like a man after a severe disease, with an unusual degree of debility. 
I had read your admirable work on the batture before I was favored with 
a copy from yourself, and I have heard it repeatedly spoken of in terms 
very graceful to my own feelings and honorable to you. I think you 
have extinguished that unfortunate man, who has caused himself to be 
extinguished. 

i Jeff. MSS. 



350 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY". [May, 

When you wrote, I still hesitated as to the probability of war. I did 
not know how we could avoid it, but I did not see how we could go 
into it, from causes that are too obvious. I was at the same time per- 
fectly convinced that if we should once get into a war, that altho' we 
should, from temporary as well as general causes, sustain some disasters 
and afflictions, that we should be triply benefitted in the result ; and 
that the entire extinction of the poisonous influence of England would 
alone compensate every loss. The apprehension I entertained was that 
from the universal consent of all men and all parties, of men in and 
men out of power, on the incompetency of the head of the War Depart- 
ment, that there would be an indisposition to enter upon a war, with 
this incompetency existing and present. I spent a fortnight at Wash- 
ington in April, whither I went to sell my lot and house on Penn? 
avenue, which I did to Mr. Gales. During that time I published a 
small pamphlet of which I send you a copy ; the extraordinary effect it 
produced on men's minds I cannot describe, but it has produced a law 
correcting almost every thing pointed out as to the organization ; and 
the system of discipline which induced me to notice the subject at all 
has been since withdrawn and is now undergoing another metamor- 
phose. I certainly dreaded the effect of a war under such incompetent 
hands as D" Eustis, and I dread it still ; it is indeed fortunate that 
there is no formidable laud force in our neighborhood nor to be appre- 
hended, tho' I find by this day's mail a fleet of transports with troops 
has arrived at Quebec (103 Reg'). You would scarcely credit what I 
could tell you and what I could point out in the military department — 
and the extravagant waste that will follow the present confusion and 
want of system in that department. I have sought to make it known 
to the Executive through various channels without any visible effect; 
and I see no probability of any correction but in some fatal disaster 
when public indignation will force the imbecile man to abandon a sta- 
tion which he ought never to have accepted, and in which more cor- 
ruption of the principles of the government and discredit and dishonor 
has been inflicted on the government than in any equal period from the 
establishment of the Constitution. 

It would give you more pain than I should wish to give any one I 
respect, to go into particular details ; or to attempt any anticipation of 
the consequences. I have determined for myself not to meddle with 
any public questions, but in a general way, maintaining the rights of 
the nation, the prosecution of the war, and supporting those principles 
upon which the republicans came into power in 1798, for tho' I have 
been sacrificed and in fact persecuted and nearly ruined by those whose 
promotion was aided by my services and sufferings, yet the principles 
are to me and will ever be as sacred as my life and honor. 

I sent you a copy of my Infantry Hand Book by which I meant to 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 351 

supply what was so much wanted in the country ; and I now send you 
another for Riflemen. Such are the works that are wanted throughout 
the country ; they disrobe military subjects of the mystery in which 
ignorance and cunning have involved them. I should publish a hand 
book for cavalry and another for Artillery upon the same principles, 
but my funds do not admit it ; and I presume since I have been 
considered in the opposition, it would not be consistent with affairs of 
state to give the writings of a suspected heretic in politics any counte- 
nance in war, I feel mortified and humiliated at the conduct I have 
personally experienced ; but I have no personal cause for mortification 
or humility ; but I cannot but perceive that your happy sentiment that 
" men feel power and forget right " is as applicable to those who re- 
ceived republican suffrages as to those who received federal. But I 
ought not to trouble you, and yet if I do not say what lies at my heart 
and which wounds my mind, shall I not be an hypocrite. 

I think we may expect a great change in Europe which will materi- 
ally affect this nation, not perhaps to her injury but by means that do 
not appear to be as yet contemplated here or elsewhere. I imagine 
that a change of fortune in the national affairs of England is not very 
remote. Such a change as I anticipate will cast upon our shores the 
riches and the wreck of British intellect, arts, sciences and manufac- 
tures : that the day is not distant when all that England had to boast 
of will cease to exist there and be transferred hither. Those who love 
tranquillity, who have panted for liberty, who have been bowed down 
by taxation ; those who labored without ceasing and slept without 
reward only to sleep and wake and eat a miserable subsistence, and 
work and sleep again, that vast class will find their way to America, 
and transplant with themselves the skill and talents which they possess, 
and upon which the power of England has existed for two centuries, or 
at least since the revocation of the Edict of Nantz which produced for 
England at that period what the madness of England is now preparing 
for us. We are destined to be the residuary legatees of British litera- 
ture, science, commerce, navigation and perhaps , vower and policy / 
How important will it be in the present state of Europe so to regu- 
late American diplomacy, as that the legacy which we are destined to 
receive shall not also entail upon us the policy of perennial wars and 
national hatreds. Such are the faint outlines of some of my anticipa- 
tions, which be pleased to receive as they are given with affectionate 
respect. 

To Madison. 

James Madison Esqr Phil a Aug. 6, 1812. 

President of the United States. 

Sir, — I have been just informed by M r Carswell that he means to 
signify by the Morning's Mail, that he cannot accept the office of Com- 



352 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

missary General. There is no man more honest than M r Carsewell, 
and it is the sense which he entertains of the importance of the 
station which induces him to decline its acceptance The same idea of 
its importance induces me to take the liberty of addressing you. 

A little attention to the duties which must devolve on the Commis- 
sary general during a war will shew that it requires something more 
than a mere accountant or merchant; during a peace any office may be 
filled by common qualifications without danger, but it is otherwise in 
such a crisis as the present — and the more necessary it is to carry on 
the war with vigor, in order to make it short and decisive, so much 
more indispensable will it be to have men in such stations as can give 
vigor to the public arm. A Commissary General should have a knowl- 
edge of Military affairs — he should know their habits — their wants 
and their privations in camp and quarters — the esprit de Corps, or that 
sympathy which arises out of association — a knowledge of the country 
not merely on the map, but of its roads and means of communication, its 
people and peculiar products and resources — a knowledge of arms and 
equipments of every kind, he should know at sight what is fit, what 
not ; he should know the quality and quantity of ammunition and 
stores — and his zeal should be always guarded so as to avert the 
consequences of those momentary disasters from which no war can be 
exempted — he should be as a second soul to the war department, and 
serve as a kind of instinct to that department and the army : a very 
honest man might fill the office, and with only an innocent incapacity, 
debilitate the army, endanger the public force and ruin himself. 

In thus sketching the qualifications of a fit man permit me to suggest, 
with the most respectful deference, the name of a gentleman who unites 
with all the qualifications I have described the stern integrity of a 
private and public character, such a man as the public voice would 
applaud, the army confide in, and such as would render credit to your- 
self — I mean the present Superintendent of Military stores, M r C. 
Irvine, son of the late General W m Irvine. He has served in the 
army is known and esteemed in private and public. His zeal for the 
public service is every where known, and his probity would be a guar- 
antee to the public and to 3'ou, such as is not always to be found in 
candidates for public office ; and I am told that at this moment there is 
a stir making to press upon you a person of the name of Duncan a 
broker of this city, a man whose profession as an agent of Usury, is 
not exactly that which is best adapted for a great trust in critical times. 

I shall only add that I have neither seen nor conversed with M r 
Irvine on this subject — I consider myself as performing an act of duty 
to the public, and should I be so fortunate as to have brought into your 
view the man qualified & he shall be appointed, I shall feel great pride 
and pleasure in the consciousness that I shall have rendered a public 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 353 

service to the country, to the army, and to the government of my 
country 

As this note is intruded on you without the knowledge of a second 
person — I beg leave to say, that whatever may be its fate — it shall 
remain known only to myself — and I keep no copy. 
I am Sir 

Your very obed Ser* 

W M DUANE 

To Jefferson, 

Phil* 20. Sep r 1812 

Respected Sir, — I should not have troubled your retirement upon 
political Subjects had not there been a rumor for some days that you 
had consented to accept the Station of Sec ty of State in the present Cri- 
sis, and that Mr. Monroe was to assume the War Department ; I must 
confess I feared it was too good news to be true, but I cannot refrain 
from expressing a wish that if you could consistently with your delib- 
erate feelings enter again into the Administration, you would contribute 
to the other eminent services which you have rendered your country 
and which appears now not only necessary to the public safety but 
which would redound to your own eternal honor. The effects of Hull's 
surrender are not to be imagined ■ — and some great and decided act of 
the Executive appears to be essential in order to turn the current 
of public feeling out of the course in which it is running ; your acces- 
sion would contribute to produce such a change and to restore public 
confidence which is now not merely wavering but in which a great 
change has already taken place. The activity of the friends of Mr. 
Clinton is unexampled in this State and in other places, and were it 
not for the attacks made in their inebriety upon General Armstrong, 
they would have made a deeper impression here, for our Electoral 
ticket, is not throughout such a one as would on its own worth obtain 
a vote ; and it is the apprehension of the return of federal rule which 
alone saves M r Madison's administration from desertion by the great 
mass of the most intelligent and virtuous part of tin republicans. 

If you were to accept the office, I should say all I think to you on 
the subject of public affairs, as far as the Executive administration is 
concerned ; but as you cannot but feel a solicitude about the work to 
the erection of which you have so largely contributed; I shall only tell 
you generally what I should go into particular specifications of under 
different circumstances. 

It cannot be doubted after a view of the whole ground, that the 
means possessed have not been applied with either sagacity, activity, 
industry or common sense in any branch of the War arrangements ; 
and it is a melancholy truth, that any man disposed to make use of the 
transactions in the military branch of the government and to compare 

45 



35-1 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

it with the most imbecile or extravagant part of M r Adams's adminis- 
tration, that the picture could be drawn with tenfold hideousness. 

Let me add that to this moment the military affairs are in a state of 
disorder and so destitute of system, that among the troops there is a 
dismal despondency, not well adapted to assure that decided effect 
which our arms ought to produce. 

A change in that course of public duties appears to me not merely 
essential to the public safety, but to the security of the policy which is 
characterized by your name, and to which the great body of the nation 
is unquestionably attached. 

The preparation within a few weeks has no doubt been greater than 
at any former period, but this I attribute to the interference of Col. 
Monroe with his aid and zeal in the War Depar 1 and the laborious 
efforts of the Adj 1 General Gushing. But it is a solemn truth that the 
Southern Department, with the exception of Wilkinson's limitted com- 
mand is not yet organized, altho' it is now three months since the 
declaration of war; and the force on the Northern frontier collects so 
slowly that there will be scarcely time to establish any discipline, or for 
the General to know the character of the officers under him before the 
Canadian fleets will render the access to that country either as easy as 
would be now practicable, or as it would have been two months ago. 

I do not tell you these things to find fault — I only state the facts 
to shew the necessity of providing against the consequences — -for no 
intelligent man can shut his eyes against them, and a despondency is 
the consequence where despondency is most dangerous, in the breasts 
of the most disinterested and virtuous men. 

The consequences require also to be looked into — the agents of the 
British are as numerous as ever — they shoulder us in the streets and 
abuse the government unchecked in our coffee houses — the enemy will 
be as well informed as we are — and perhaps better — of our situa- 
tion j and it is proper to anticipate what they are likely to attempt, and 
to consider how we are prepared to meet their assaults. 

Their naval force will enable them to select such points on our coasts 
as are most exposed or best adapted to injure or distract us — from the 
rebellious temper in the East nothing can be apprehended singly — 
nothing could be apprehended, even if a British force were landed, if 
proper means were pursued & a competent head in the War Office to 
direct the means of repelling the traitors within and their allies from 
without. Suppose the British transport during the Winter 10000 men 
to Halifax, and taking 5000 of them on board the ships of War hoist a 
standard on some part of our Eastern coast — they would call those 5 
ten thousand and the credulity of their adherents and of their enemies 
would readily double their force — These things are practicable, I do 
not say many would join them but the effect is what I wish to guard 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 355 

against. Are there any steps taken — ought not steps to be taken to 
guard against such events. On the subject of the South, I shall say 
nothing. General Wilkinson presented a memoir last April to the 
War Department on the defence of the South, of which D r Eustis 
unhappily is incompetent to appreciate the importance, and it is to be 
feared that if an attack should be made on the East or on the South, 
our foresight will be as at Machilimackinac a deplorable improvidence. 

I am not accustomed to feel so gloomy as I do on such subjects but 
I am not alone — I know no feelings but those which lend to the happi- 
ness and safety of my country — I have taken the liberty of expressing 
myself to M r Monroe with the same freedom on similar subjects — and 
I know my frankness will meet the usual indulgence with you — but a 
change in, the War Department appears to me indispensible to the 
public safety and the security of the approaching Election. Ever with 
love and respect. 

Yours 

W M DUANE. 

To Madison. 
James Madison Esq Phil a Sep r 20 1812 

President of the U States 

Sir, — The enclosed has been accidentally soiled, as it was written 
at midnight — and I have not it in my power to transcribe it — nor 
indeed to read it — I beg to be excused — I should prefer its being 
confined to yourself and Mr Monroe, as I am not so solicitous about 
any thing concerning it as the important subject to which it refers — 
and it is to be considered as a private communication — Nor do I look 
for an answer — the freedom of it you will please to excuse. 

I am Sir 

Your obed Ser* 

W M DUANE. 

To Madison. 
James Madison Esq r Phil a Sep r 20, 1812 

President of the U States 

Sir, — If I did not believe that the motive which actuates me would 
justify me even under the possibility of my conceptions being errone- 
ous, and that you would receive the suggestions of an individual who 
has no other views than the general and common interest I should not 
venture to address you. The efforts of the humblest individual may at 
least contribute to the direction of the executive mind towards objects 
of great public importance ; and I address you without reserve under 
these impressions. 

The letter of General Hull goes to vindicate the administration in 



856 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May. 

every thing that relates to the unhappy events at Detroit, except in the 
single point of the neglect of Machilimackinac ; and altho' this cannot 
justify the misconduct of the officer, it is a point upon which he may 
escape every imputation but that of incapacity or cowardice. 

I offer this opinion with no other view than to indicate the absolute 
necessity of being provident on other vulnerable points, and in doing 
this I must attempt to anticipate by first considering what is possible, 
the necessity of guarding against what is probable. 

The U. States may be assailed at its two extremities, that is at some 
point of Florida or Louisiana on the South, and at some point between 
the Long island Sound and the Bay of Casco, or between N. York and 
Portsmouth in N. Hampshire. The necessary means for the defence 
of the South I have no doubt have been properly pointed out by the 
able officer who has charge of N. Orleans ; if the government have pro- 
vided the means requisite there, and in such hands there is no doubt 
of their being well managed, it will be unnecessary to touch a point so 
much better occupied. But the most vulnerable point at this moment 
is the section on the East which I have referred to. 

What renders it particularly indispensible at this time and not an 
hour should be lost, is the peculiar circumstances of the Eastern states 
and the facilities which their superior naval force afford to the enemy 
to select any point of that section of the Union upon which they may 
think fit to make an impression. 

I do not believe that disaffection is either so extensive as the sedi- 
tious in that quarter represent, nor do I think that left to themselves 
without external influence, their clamors or the most treasonable efforts 
they could make would end in any other than their own destruction and 
the greater security of the government. 

But as in all political affairs, as well as in military affairs, the effects 
of human passions acted upon by sudden and alarming events must be 
always taken into view, it may be safely assumed that the landing of a 
force of some three to five thousand troops of the enemy on any point of 
that section would encourage disaffection, and what is most to be appre- 
hended, appal the virtuous. The effect need not be minutely examined, 
it is within the measure of every man's conception. 

But it may be presumed that as the disaffection is more in clamor 
than in reality, there is not so much danger. This would be just rea- 
soning if we had any reasons to think the British government to be 
wiser now or less credulous when their wishes were their counsellors 
than at former periods. If we wanted any evidence to satisfy us, the 
speeches in the Parliament of England in the last Session, the mission of 
Henry, and the audacious insolence and temerity of the adherents of 
England in our seaports and at the Seat of the government itself, would 
declare that the British government calculates largely on the disaffec- 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 357 

tion in all parts of the Union, but particularly in the three maritime 
states next adjoining to N York. That they will act in some shape 
upon these calculations I believe there can be no doubt, whether they 
will resort to private emissaries and largesses, or to public offers of 
Alliance and association with those States ; or whether they will employ 
their naval force to land an army on the Eastern coasts is uncertain ; I 
think they will attempt all these means. It may be very truly urged, 
that they could derive no permanent advantage from such attempts ; 
that they would be driven off in disgrace or their troops compelled to 
surrender ; or that they could not send a force sufficient for any durable 
conquest. But admitting all these results as certain, the event is not 
the whole of the consideration, they could accomplish great and heavy 
afflictions — they would" paralyse the efforts and obstruct the resources 
of prosperity over a large surface of country ; the alarm would be 
even greater than the danger or the evil perpetrated but the evil 
would not be wholly local, its effects would be felt to the extreme of 
the union as the disastrous but comparatively trivial event at Detroit 
now is. 

It may be well to consider what they can and may do. This impor- 
tance which they necessarily and truly attach to the Station of Halifax, 
superadded to the importance of Quebec will induce them to send out a 
considerable force to Halifax, arriving early they might enter the St 
Lawrence at any time in the ensuing month of October, vessels to my 
knowledge have entered in November, and a vessel has been known to 
sail early in December ; however, they can enter Halifax at any season. 
They may upon ten ships of war and 20 transports send 10000 men 
to Halifax! They can provision them by the temptations which they 
have held forth to the avarice of our people to carry provisions to 
Bermuda or direct to Halifax ; but even if provisions should not be 
abundant they would then have a fresh stimulant to keep their troops 
in action and discipline, to transport a body of 5000 to some part of our 
coasts where by the previous advices of their 1 emissaries they would 
find means to subsist their troops or satiate their rapacity. 

Perhaps by an understanding with their friends they may not at first 
touch Boston ; but the greater probability is that their first attempts 
would be in that quarter ; but secure within Cape Cod with a superior 
fleet they could select any place in that Bay particularly Plymouth ; 
the waters of Rhode Island and all along the Sound to New Rochelle 
they might depredate without danger, and land troops under cover of 
their ships, 5000 men landed on Long Island could carry off every 
thing upon it and bombard and lay N. York in ashes, and retire before 
any force competent to resist them could be brought to act. 

I draw this sketch rapidly tho its scope is extensive, because altho' 
they could not operate on all that line of coast at once, yet they having 



358 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

the choice of the point of attack it is indispeusible to consider how far 
and how much they may be able to go and do. 

That such is the course a powerful and skilful enemy would pursue, 
I believe will admit of no question ; and without supposing them to 
possess all the skill in the world, it can hardly be presumed that 
they are so little acquainted with the management of military opera- 
tions as to overlook such advantages as our circumstances present to 
them. 

These views press upon the consideration of the government the 
importance of an early and adequate preparation against such contin- 
gencies ; and there [are] other motives no less cogent which call imperi- 
ously for effective and prompt preparations. 

Measures of prevention are of all others the most wise ; they do not 
carry the eclat of victory but they secure the consolations of virtue ; 
they do good by preventing evil. The means by which I would guard 
against them, is by acting upon the offensive. I would not wait for his 
assault, I would compel him to remain within his stronghold, if I could 
do no better ; but if I could take it from him, I would prefer it, but at 
any events I would keep him so effectually in check that he should not 
be capable of moving without danger, and I should thereby protect 
myself. 

In a paper which I published a few days ago, I threw out a loose 
sketch of these conceptions, but I confess there was an object upon which 
1 ivould not publicly touch, which is of no less moment, perhaps of the 
greatest moment. I shall state it when I have suggested the means to 
which I would have recourse. 

I would embody and encamp a force of 10000 men in two divisions ; 
5000 regulars, 5000 Volunteers, or such Militia as would perform a 
tour of duty for six months, in which case they should go at the end 
of every month after the first three, one thousand men, and be suc- 
ceeded by 1000, who should be as exactly disciplined as the regulars ; 
with these corps, I should threaten to march to Quebec in the first in- 
stance by the Kennebeck & Chaudiere ; but I should by marches of 
discipline change their direction and menace Halifax ; if Halifax should 
be found accessible (and I know it is) it might be taken after two or 
three feints; — if not taken the troops would at least be disciplined to 
war by the movements, and the enemy apprized of the state of prepara- 
tion would be cautious of exposing his post by sending his troops upon 
marauding expeditions or to be taken by a force so much more capable 
from its local advantages of repelling them. 

I need not point out the advantages to discipline, and to the acquisition 
of an efficient force for any service, the embodying a compact army of 1 0000 
men would prove. But what I before referred to is the importance 
of having it embodied in the very neighborhood of disaffection — its 



1906.] LETTEKS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 359 

presence without a single act of rigor, its discipline without being 
employed on any other duty, would not only destroy every disposition to 
treason, but it would disconcert the enemy by occupying the very 
ground upon which he had been invited to raise his standard. 

A force of this kind would attract attention, the faithful citizen would 
feel a confidence which he is now a stranger to — the army itself would 
circulate its pay and give activity to local industry ; the voice of patri- 
otism would be heard where treason now mutters curses upon the 
government which is too mild to punish it, and the operations in other 
quarters would instead of being interrupted or weakened, they would 
derive confidence and strength from the very knowledge that such a 
force existed. 

I have expressed what I conceive to be in itself more important than 
I can describe it — but I sincerely believe it would be a measure of 
the greatest importance in all the views in which I have presented it. 
I am Sir with great respect 

Your obed Ser 1 

W M Duane 

The two parties opposed to the present administration, who had 
delegates at Lancaster — have quarreled and separated in ill blood — 
without agreeing on any object relative to the Governmental or 
Presidential election — a good omen. 

To Jefferson. 

Phil a Feb. 14. 1813 

Respected Sir, — I could not before this day find an opportunity 
undisturbed to answer yours of the 22 d ult. Never having been much 
of a pecuniary calculator it is absolutely out of my power to say how 
my account with the Review of Montesquieu stands. When pressed 
hard last year by the combination of one set of old friends and the 
desertion of the rest I found in the sacrifice of I considerable number 
of the review for the price of print and paper some little aid in saving 
me from wreck ; and as every cent then was in effect as good as a dollar 
when I did not want the dollar, I have derived some gratification in 
that respect that even my wants contributed to utility ; and in fact I 
feel perfectly satisfied, beside that I have some copies remaining which 
I sell now and then at 2 $ allowing the bookseller who rents my store, 
the usual discount. I have made various efforts to have the book re- 
viewed in Boston, N. York, and here without success ; and even a copy 
which Mr Ronaldson deposited in the hands of the Edinburg Reviewers 
Editor, has had no better success ; such is the conspiracy against virtue 
even among those who profess themselves the lovers of light and litera- 
ture. I had once one inclination to send a copy to W. L. Smith of 



360 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Charleston in return for an anecdote of D r Franklin which he volun- 
teered to me ; but as I was about to dispatch it I found he took himself 
off. I shall send you the original French MSS. by mail as soon as the 
Weather clears so as to secure it from danger of wet on the road ; and 
I shall be grateful for the Copy of Tracy's Work, which I shall be able 
to go through as a change of exercise during the Summer. 

I should not have ventured to touch upon political affairs, had you 
not mentioned the subject, having considered a former letter as in some 
measure interdicting me on that topic — and while I attempt it now I 
feel loth lest my ideas should give you pain ; and am only justified to 
myself by the intention, which is not to give pain but to give the senti- 
ments of a feeling and minute observer. 

I believe it is unnecessary to repeat how fatally realized my predic- 
tions have been on our military affairs — the sacrifices in the west are 
not at an end, and I shall be very well content if Harrison after spend- 
ing a million of dollars in his erratic course returns with the western 
youth safe to their homes. The sacrifice on the Raisin river is only a 
second edition of Tippecanoe — Detroit — Queenstown, and Buffaloe 
are all the fruit of the shocking disregard of common sense in the choice 
of unfit, incapable, and profligate men, raised by the vilest intrigues to 
stations in which the sacrifice of virtuous men was to be the fruit of 
their elevation. The solitary influence of gallantry in the subalterns 
& soldiers reflects back and renders more conspicuous the imbecility of 
those who were the leaders ! I could go into a history of transactions 
on this subject that would shock you — I forbear — but it will be history. 
What could we expect but reverses, when one general was appointed 
full of years only to prevent his being a rival candidate to a member 
of Congress from the same district. Another because the Secretary 
at War declared " he would not have conducted the business against 
Wilkinson, had it not been for his aid." If I could believe that provi- 
dence ever interfered in human affairs or murdered the innocent to 
expiate the sins of the guilty who were spared, I should consider our 
sufferings in the last campaign a punishment for the shocking perse- 
cution of the man of all others best adapted to save the country from 
such disasters as ignorance and imbecility have brought upon us. How 
could we expect any thing but reverses. When I am well authorized 
to say that the very first news of the war given to the enemy by 
which Machilimackinac was taken and Hull's baggage intercepted was 
communicated from Washington I have experienced your repugnance 
to believe any thing sinister of particular men — I therefore forbear to 
name the person under whose frank that news passed to the North 
West company's agent. Whenever Hull's trial comes on the fact will 
appear. I do not choose to place myself again in that point of public 
view, which may expose me to persecution, my family to destruction, 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 361 

and the cruel abandonment of those who owed me nothing but gratitude, 
and to whom I owe nothing but the blushes which the recollection of 
their conduct always produces. 

The policy which has been pursued towards British agents in admit- 
ting cargoes notoriously contrary to established law, has had a fatal 
effect on the minds of the men most devoted to the republic — a change 
in that course of policy and the influence which directs, is the wish of 
thousands, and it cannot be long before it cannot be avoided ; it squats 
like an incubus on the executive power and benumbs the whole 
government. 

I have had repeated applications made to me to make a public expo- 
sition of numerous facts — I determined when the war was declared 
that I would not countenance any expositions which were not of vital 
importance to the State and I have adhered to it ; where I could not 
applaud I have been silent, and I have endeavored by private com- 
munications to render every service in my power. 

I should write more frequently to you if I did not apprehend it 
would be disagreeable ; I have written now only in consequence of 
your touching the subject. 

I shall be glad to receive Tracy's work whenever you may think 
proper to send it. Have you seen Ganiltis book on Political Economy 
— I find it translated into English published at N. York ; is worthy of 
your perusal. 

Believe me ever affectionately yours 

W M DUANE 

This letter has been delayed till this date (9 March) by a rumor 
that you were unwell; Col. Coles who called here removed my fears 
first on that head — but the letter has lain over until taken up among 
the last month's miscellaneous business. M r Madison's message about 
the licenses and his speech on his reelection have given some hopes 
to the republicans — but the failure of the law; in the Senate has 
excited equal disgust. M r M. chose the greater evil and got rid of the 
lesser two years ago. 

To Jefferson. 

Phii> Sep r 26, 1813 

Dear and respected Sir, — I have the pleasure of receiving 
yours of the 18 th this day — the work of Tracy is going forward but 
slowly, as I cannot devote from my present engagements the time I 
should wish to see it pushed forward. I have put it in the hands of 
one of Neef's assistants, a sensible and liberal young man; and Neef is 
able to render the abstruseness of Tracy's metaphysics a little more 
comprehensible than my young friend or myself should — I did not 

46 



362 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

calculate upon accomplishing it before the close of the present fall, and 
I think it will be ready for a full perusal by the end of October. 

The affair of the Enterprize & Boxer has been followed by another 
triumph still more signal in manner and consequences The victory on 
Lake Erie has laid the foundation for the Security of the western 
countries, which ought to have been long since achieved by the enor- 
mous means of every kind money, ?nen, and stores furnished, but which 
have been wasted in a manner the most shameful and with effects cor- 
responding in disgrace. It is deplorable, with the experience of ages 
and of our own times, with common sense to resort to, how unfortunate 
has been the manner in which the military operations were consigned 
and the hands in which they were placed. Poor Pike when I last saw 
him in this city said to me at parting — "I shall go to Canada proba- 
bly never to return, but I shall go ; for the generals we have are all 
generals of the Cabinet, and it is only after several of us who have 
some knowledge of military business are sacrificed, that men will be 
placed to lead who are now in the ranks or in obscurity — you shall 
then see our cabinet generals retire and fighting generals brought 
forward. 57 

It was a great calamity that such a man as Eustis should have had 
the appointments of the army at his discretion, since his errors have 
been a burthen to the country and an obstacle to his successor ; that is 
however now in some measure correcting itself. No man esteems 
Gen Dearborne more than I do, but it was a great mistake to place 
him in these times at the head of a new army — and it was still 
worse to give him coadjutors incompetent from various causes to 
supply any of his deficiencies. He had Morgan Lewis for Q r Master 
General, who if it could procure him a diadem could not give an 
instruction nor define the duties of one of his deputies, in fact it was 
sending a vessel to sea without raising her anchors to put such a man 
in such a station, and yet the expedient resorted to was to make him 
a Major General who could not execute the duties of Q r Master ! 
Another of poor Dearborne's p*rops was Alexander Smythe, a man who 
to this hour is incapable of exercising a company, and this is the man 
who was to organize a raw army ! General Bloomfield had some expe- 
rience and was wounded at Braudywine, and his knowledge of details 
in the old forms is perhaps equal to any one of his cotemporaries ; but 
he has not the remotest idea of modern principles nor of that distribu- 
tion of the duties which renders ten thousand men as manageable as 
one though he is a man of note — and independent of the effects of age 
which is already dotage, he was not competent to any service in action, 
and especially in Canada ; while Pike was in his brigade it was well 
because Pike saved him the trouble of every sense but hearing — and 
at last the organization of the Staff afforded an opportunity to place 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 363 

him where no military service was required, but where it required the 
greatest patience and a sentiment of generosity to keep matters out of 
confusion — a Volunteer association composed of the sons of Tories and 
Aristocrats in this city were called into service by him at the very 
moment they were defaming the government — they were sent to camp 
and were a curse to the neighborhood — on their march they entered 
peaceable houses and carried away provisions by violence, tho' amply 
supplied by public providence they practised in common various acts of 
violence on the public arms in their hands and darned them as Demo- 
cratic arms and returned them totally unfit for service ; yet these men 
received public thanks in a general order for their exemplary conduct 
and discipline ! As Adjutant General I declined signing and refused 
to publish such an order — but it is only a specimen of what was doing 
on the frontiers. 

I speak of this matter more fully because it comes under my own 
eyes and knowledge — I have no motive of a personal kind to be dis- 
satisfied with Gen. B. and he has more than once said he was fortunate 
in having me as his adj. Gen. But it goes to show what unhappy 
misconceptions governed the choice of officers. Winder was a younger 
man but before he was appointed he knew no more of Military affairs 
than his horse ; and I am satisfied he could not put a company in 
motion now after two years experience. Chandler was not a whit 
better as to intelligence. The consequences have been seen, but it has 
cost the country much treasure and much more precious blood, which 
might have been saved. But if I were to go into the numeration of 
all that might be truly said and deplored on this subject, you would be 
tired and I should be ashamed to exhibit a picture so inconsistent with 
the virtue of a republic and so fatal to its character for talents and 
public spirit. The refusal of Gen. Davie and Governor Ogden of rank 
in the army, they pretend to justify upon such grounds as those, tho' T 
am perfectly aware that their refusal was actuated fry different motives. 
Their nomination however is very characteristic of the fatal policy 
which has too long prevailed, and which your goodness will excuse me 
for saying was too much countenanced by yourself; it is too plain that 
we are not all republicans nor all federalists — the spirit of faction in the 
East I apprehend has been too much encouraged by the mistakes 
which they perceived we ran into, and which they attributed to a fear 
of their power instead of that benignity in which it originated. 

It will be found true I believe in all times, that men who are indif- 
ferent to social and moral obligations can be governed by no other 
means than by their fears or interests ; to place men of such a character 
on a level with men of principle or virtue is to reduce virtue and vice, 
patriotism and perfidy to a common standard of merit! The effects 
have been felt in our political affairs — and in our military operations 



364 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

— the army has exhibited a theatre of dissention, and the sword 
which was put to the field to assail the enemy has been too frequently 
unsheathed to assault the vindicator of his country's rights and govern- 
ment. The late General Pike told me that until he witnessed the 
treasonable and seditious discourses in the field he had considered 
himself a federalist, but that he was not only cured, but astonished 
how the government ever appointed one of them to a place of honor 
or confidence. I fear that the policy of courting enemies and sacri- 
ficing friends prevails too much in political affairs, and remote and 
small as its beginnings were, that it has been carried to such a height 
as if not speedily put a stop to by some generous and magnanimous 
rallying of the republicans it will end in the frustration of all the good 
that has arisen out of the triumph of 1800. I could say a great deal on 
this topic if I were not afraid of tiring you or of giving you pain — and 
I have not written on politics so much as I have now written since 
March last. • 

The sentiments you express concerning the unhappy men in the 
hands of the enemy, have warmed my most affectionate feelings towards 
you — Would to God that M r Madison felt as you do, and would act 
upon it ; he would glorify himself and it would do more than ten sail 
of the line or twenty thousand men in prosecuting the war to a peace, 
and in elevating our country in the eyes of the World. Can it be pos- 
sible that M r Madison does not converse with you or is his health such 
as to render him unable ; surely M r Monroe would think and act with 
your thoughts. It would be rendering a most honorable service to M r 
Madison and to humanity to point out this glorious path to Justice and 
Natural Dignity. 

I have never had the confidence or personal knowledge of M r 
Madison with which you have honored me, or I should have written 
him on such subjects often. A man has been lately sent from Halifax 
to England in Irons who has been a citizen of the U. S. 20 years and 
with a family ! 

You may expect very soon to hear of something very decisive and 
brilliant by our land forces — the orders for operations have been 
issued for movements at four points on the same day ; the Erie busi- 
ness will favor Harrison's operations, if he has only prudence to consult 
some man of talents as to his operations ; but Proctor must evacuate 
Michigan and Maiden to prevent being cut off ; if Harrison possessed 
either talents or enterprise he would by throwing 2000 men across the 
Lake to Long Point compel him to surrender at Discretion. 

The operations going on lately have had in view to deceive the 
enemy, and it has succeeded admirably for I find Sir Geo. Provost has 
forsaken Kingston, where he ought to have made his stand in order to 
go up to the head of the Lake to meet those demonstrations which 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DTJANE. 365 

were making there for no purpose in the world, as I believe but to 
delude him into a snare. 

The division under. Gen. Hampton has proceeded down Champlain ; 
the troops with him are select and excellent; he has some able men 
near him, and he has discretion enough to depend on them more than 
on himself, which is no bad quality in such a responsible station — 
being in it. I presume that he will be (as he ought to be) in Montreal 
at least before the 1 st of October ; in that event our whole force must 
be brought below. Kingston will I suppose be taken by Wilkinson. 
Quebec will be left for the end of May & June next — when it must 
fall — a siege of four weeks ought to bring Quebec under the American 
banner. 

But I have tired you — if it is not interesting it will be at least an 
evidence of my unabated respect and confidence in your continued 
liberality & friendship. 

W M DUANE 

To Madison. 

Phil a 22 d Fob. 1814 
Sir, — Having had the honor to address you on the appointment of 
a Postmaster in this city, I think myself bound to represent to you 
that an effort wholly artificial and factious is now making here to 
make an impression on your mind that the appointment is not approved 
by the mass of the community. It is very inauspicious for the repub- 
lican cause, when the worst of men and the vilest of passions can by 
any means assume the representation of the feelings and wishes of the 
community. But unquestionably the republican cause has been for 
some years in such hands as made virtuous men ashamed and feeling 
men tremble. The principle of regarding the greater good more than 
partial evil, has induced me in the station which I had occupied with 
some service to the public, to remain rather a neutral spectator, willing 
to suffer in my personal affairs & feelings, than resist a state of things 
which as to the state was only just not as bad as the reign of terror in 
1797-8. The preponderating advantage of silence was that while 
every thing was inconsistent with former political professions in the 
state, the ruling influence had come round from opposition to support 
of the general government ; and the importance of the state to the 
Union in such critical times weighed down every personal considera- 
tion. This impunity has perhaps tended to aggravate the evil here, 
and as to persons the evil is now becoming as grievous as federal pro- 
scription in 1798. The same means then employed by the infuriate 
Marats of that day are now in operation by the Marats of the present. 
The persecutors of 1798 called themselves Federalists ; these of to- 
day call themselves republicans ; but it is rather an extraordinary 



366 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [Mat, 

coincidence, that the same men who were proscribed then by one 
party should be now proscribed by the other — and that in both 
instances the most abandoned men of both parties should be the most 
active and conspicuous and that the terrorists of this day literally 
adopt the means of slander and aspersion and the proscription of 
persons who do not concur with them. 

I use the name of only one man the most active and slanderous of all 
the present race — Matt. Randall, of whose character Captain Josiah 
and Capt. W. Jones the present Sec ty of the Navy can give you ample 
information. 

These men have caused a printed paper to be circulated for signa- 
tures — and there is no paper to which a number of signatures could not 
be procured when names not character is required. I cite two cases in 
exemplification of the course pursuing here. Mr John Dorsey is an 
auctioneer under a commission from the State Executive, he signed 
a paper for a candidate for the Post office which was handed him by 
one of the partisans who are in rule ; another paper has been since 
handed him for the removal of D r Leib ; Mr Dorsey had the honesty 
to say he could not sign such a paper as it was false from beginning to 
end — they have threatened to turn him out of his station for refusing 
to sign what he could not believe. 

Application was made to Stephen Girard the Banker for the like 
purpose, he repelled them with indignation, and told them he highly 
approved of the appointment of D r Leib. 

In short, Sir, the calumnies raised against D r Leib are the stale 
slanders brought out of a family quarrel in 1798 or 1799, and intro- 
duced by a rival for political purposes — there is not on earth a man 
of purer integrity or nicer honor than D r Leib in his dealings between 
man and man. He has no enemies but those created by political dis- 
putes — and take away those who are interested in the present case of 
the Post Office there is not a respectable man in this community and 
a friend to the government who does not approve the appointment. 

The state of politics in this state in such hands as it now is cannot 
endure — I have no other interest in this case than a common one and 
the love of justice — I do not wish to see the executive converted into 
an indirect libeller of any man's character, upon the evidence of the 
vilest men in the community. Let me most earnestly assure you that 
the course now pursuing here to injure D r Leib has excited the strong- 
est indignation in some of the most respectable of those who have sus- 
tained your administration ; and that if you were to give way to these 
artificial clamors — that the administration would suffer in the opinions 
of meu whose opinions are more precious than the clamors of these 
Demagogues are to be feared. It would be throwing pain into honest 
hearts to gratify men who would abandon as they before abused your 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 367 

name, mind, character and authority. For myself a proscription of 
this kind countenanced by you would make me despair of the Republic 
which cruelty and relentless personal persecution has not hitherto done. 
Excuse, Sir, the warmth and the sincerity of this address — I trust 
that it is not offensive — and am sure it was not meant to be — it flows 
from my heart & unknown to another being. With great respect your 
obed Ser 1 

Wm Duane 

To Madison. 

Phil a 22d June, 1814 

Sir, — I trust to be pardoned for the liberty of addressing you when 
I assure you of my unfeigned sincerity, that I should not address you 
on any occasion, which I did not believe the object consistent with 
justice and calculated to do you honor, I have seldom taken this liberty 
and never for myself. The vacancy in the Post Office here has as is 
usual called forth a number of Candidates. My purpose is to solicit 
the station for a man whose sacrifices of a respectable profession and 
whose services in critical times entitle him to the generous considera- 
tion of the Republican Administration. D r M. Leib to my knowledge 
sacrificed his medical practice of 5000 $ a year, and came forward in 
defence of the principles of the government when the whole number 
of men who dared to avow their politics in this city did not exceed 
twenty. He has for his services in that trying period incurred an un- 
varying course of political persecution — no man in this community has 
done more within the period of my experience by his zeal, intelligence, 
and integrity than Dr, Leib. Other men with politics and morals more 
elastic have accumulated wealth, while he has been the scape goat of 
the apostates from principle and the proselytes of avarice to the pre- 
vailing authority. 

I am the more earnestly induced to trespass on you with my feelings 
on this occasion because the opposition to him bears a character so 
impudent and indecent in its public form, and proceeds from a person 
who not seven years ago avowed that he would have been a Tory had 
he lived in the Revolution, and who has been elected to Congress only 
through the disposition which has prevailed with those in this district 
who could have prevented it to make every sacrifice to avoid even the 
appearance of division at a period when union was so necessary. 

Of the candidates who it is reported are likely to possess a strong 
interest with the Executive I am told young M r Bache is one. My 
connexions with that gentleman's family, are well known ; I also know 
that he possesses already a handsome fortune and an office under the 
state government. 

But there is a consideration which you will I am sure pardon me for 



368 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

pressing upon your attention, because it in some degree touches myself; 
and in truth because I have experienced in some measure how little 
past services are regarded in politics when present purposes derive no 
support for them. It is painfully true that in this district the men 
who rendered the most service in the days of terror, who sacrificed 
every thing and who risked life, have been grievously persecuted by men 
who call themselves the friends of the administration — some of these 
persecutors high in office and enormously aggrandized from public pa- 
tronage, I can assert for myself that I have been grievously persecuted 
in my industry, my character, my family peace, and in every pursuit — 
by persons of this description. I have in this respect shared a fate in 
common with D r Leib, who has felt it more perhaps because he had 
not in his hands the means of vindication and retaliation which I pos- 
sess, but which because I do possess I have seldom used. 

My hope in addressing you thus earnestly is to put an end to this 
notion that men whose services were precious in trying times are to be 
held up for proscription, to persons who unite so many incongruities 
of character of every kind that I forbear to trouble you with any par- 
ticular enumeration of them. I solicit for Dr Leib your patronage 
honestly and manfully — Let me add that I do this without his knowl- 
edge — nay that he and I have not been on terms of intimacy since 
the last session of Congress — nor have we spoked to or corresponded 
with each other. I can assure you that however the appointment may 
be opposed by men who will oppose every thing, by those who have 
within two or three years used and flattered you — by those who would 
with equal facility abuse you again were their avarice to be glutted by 
it — I assure you that no man of whom I have heard will afford more 
satisfaction to the liberal, to those only whose opinion is worthy of the 
regard of a chief magistrate or any other honest man. 
I am Sir with the utmost respect 

Your obed Ser 1 

W M DUANE 

To Jefferson. 

Phil a 11 Aug. 1814 

Respected & dear Sir, — The translation has been completed 
several months, but business of every kind has been thrown into new 
channels, and of the six presses which were formerly employed for my 
benefit only one which prints the Aurora is now employed — there was 
not work to pay wages, and the MSS. remains on hand. Unless a 
change of some kind takes places I see no prospect of doing any thing 
— for I am too low in purse to be able to contribute any thing to my 
wishes and the cause of truth. 

The state of things in Europe has baffled all human anticipations — 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 369 

where it will end is as difficult to foresee. Unless as they affect our 
own country I feel no deep interest in them — the French have fallen 
from the loftiest pinacle of renown to the lowest abyss of contempti- 
bility ; and one is equally at a loss whether to despise them or to abhor 
the author of all the wars of Europe most. Spain is to be sure a kind 
of foil to elevate France, by exhibiting the force and brutality of super- 
stition on the unfortunate species. But they are all very appropriately 
assimilated to bears, and lions, and panthers and tygers — • 

I think seriously however of the effect on our own affairs, and the 
more seriously when I reflect on the state of the government and the 
apathy into which the people have fallen : a state perhaps the like of 
which never was before seen in a nation, an apathy which like the state 
of the human stomach in certain cases, will admit of no wholesome 
aliment ; and receives no nourishment but thro' a poisonous medium. 

The country appears to me in a state very much resembling that of 
Holland in the time of the illustrious De Witts, I believe about 1670 
or thereabout ; and menaced by the same enemy and by the same kind 
of agency. Hume describes it briefly but truly and I am afraid the 
moral condition of the country is not much better than was that of the 
Dutch who could be prevailed on to murder their benefactors, to sub- 
serve the rapacious avarice and jealousy of England and to elevate a 
family who were to be their tyrants as the price of the subserviency of 
the tyrant to England. 

The Dutch would not believe — I mean the Dutch republicans, the 
DeWitts, would not believe the British meant to play them foul ; they 
believed in British friendship ; they believed the professions and promises 
of British Ministers — in defiance of the daily acts of contumely and 
outrage committed on their people 

I see the same credulity in our government — I see the power of 
England in the sneers of her agents as they walk, our streets — I see 
the predominancy of that influence in the midst of war, and — forgive 
me — I see our own government temporising with this abominable 
government and inviting their contempt and their insolence by treating 
them in a manner which they must consider with exultation — as they 
must judge by themselves — and always have been truckling and mean 
in adversity, as they have been insolent and overbearing in Prosperity. 

Our Government will never accomplish any thing by reasoning or 
appealing to justice, whose policy is established on the injury of all 
other nations and whose habitual passions as a nation are hatred, envy, 
jealousy, and hardness of heart towards every other people. 

How will the bear and the lion settle the question of neutral rights — 
as the French say. I fear it is en Vair — it is something like the bal- 
loons thirty years ago, no longer an object worth contending for — the 
Deliverer of Europe will probably commute for Poland all pretentions 

47 



370 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

to the freedom of the Seas. My respect for Kings and Statesmen is not 
encreased by the experience of twenty years past. The possession of 
power appears to operate like a Tourniquet on the moral faculties, as 
soon as men possess power the moral artery appears to be screwed up — 
and the statesman becomes as frigid as a frog — Alexander the De- 
liverer has had his sop. I believe he will sit down " infamous and 
contented " ; but Poland is an immense bastion, flanking Silesia, Bohe- 
mia, Lusatia, Moravia, Austria, and Hungary — the road by Krems 
over which Suwaroff marched for Italy & Switzerland is within a few 
miles of Vienna. 

Saxony proper is portioned to aggrandize Prussia, this reduces 
Prussia to vassalage to Russia, and enables Russia to keep Austria 
counterpoised — the Austrian Empress is I believe a Saxon ! There 
is to be a grand farce at Vienna, the parade of Plenipotentiaries, who 
are to act as the arch jugglers Talleyrand & Castleragh seduce by cun- 
ning or purchase by gold — those grand arsons who set fire to nations 
and retire by the light of the conflagration they kindle to collect the 
spoils of desolation amidst the ruins. But where am I running. 

England cannot at this moment sit down quietly in peace, without 
greater danger than she can incur by continuing the war. This may ap- 
pear a paradox. Her condition cannot at any time be suddenly changed 
— it is now wholly military — her circulation and social subsistence 
circulates through military channels — her means and experience are now 
more commensurate to war than at any former period — she may reduce 
as many of her land and naval forces as can with safety be admitted into 
society — but she will be obliged to send abroad or to abandon a larger 
portion, which would perhaps enter the armies of her rivals, or carry 
them selves to America to augment American population or man 
American vessels in commerce or war. England has experienced the 
want of Generals, it has taken her 20 years to produce one, and she 
will endeavor to keep up the breed ; she has discovered that what 
Vegetius said long ago is true — " neither length of years, nor knowl- 
edge of state affairs, do " back the art of War, but continual exercise. 

What does this lead to, you will ask ? It leads to considerations 
that disturb my sleep and induce me to look at the little flock of inno- 
cents around me; I recollect what I have seen of English policy, I 
recollect the traditionary history of three generations of my ancestors- — 
I have seen in three quarters of the earth beside my country the policy 
of England — the national character of its policy — I am ready to meet 
it, but I cannot be therefore insensible to what must be inevitable — if 
the Government does not act as becomes the exigency — if they slum- 
ber like the DeWitts over a Volcano ; if they temporise with disaffec- 
tion and exhibit in all their Measures the same melancholy evidences 
of discord which characterises the extremities of the nation — we are 
undone. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 371 

England has purchased every government in Europe — by her gold 
she has arrayed them all in arms — and in the midst of what was 
reputed the best organized tyranny that ever was framed she organized 
a conspiracy for its overthrow — and succeeded. Are we to expect this 
haughty power will in the insolence of her unexampled success treat 
us with delicacy or justice — O fatal expectation! fatal because it is 
even supposed to be possible ! 

But what is wrong or what would be right. 

Pardon me as usual for the freedom and unreserve with which I 
speak to you — I pretend to nothing more than common sense. And 
if I speak with confidence and firmness it is to be attributed only to 
the earnestness & sincerity of my convictions. What is wrong? Why 
the war from the first movement towards Tippecanoe to the last move- 
ment into Canada by Niagara has been a series of futile and wasteful 
measures, productive if successful of no positive and comprehensive or 
desirable good, but productive of disaster and destruction as they have 
been conceived and conducted. It was a fatal mistake not to declare 
war at the period of the Chesapeake, but the most fatal of all mistakes 
was the repeal of the Embargo. But I cannot conceive how any man 
who has considered the world for a life of forty years only could expect 
any thing but war after that repeal, or could think of accomplishing 
any solid object of peace but by a vigorous exercise of the whole 
energies of the nation. The embargo repeal indeed deceived the enemy 
fortunately as much as it deceived ourselves, for M r Quincey only 
echoed what Henry and other English emissaries said in Boston, that 
we could not be kicked into a war. 

The measures taken and the manner in which the war has been 
conducted is the true cause of the apathy that prevails in society. 
The friends of the Government, that is the Whigs of 1798, are the 
most disgusted and disappointed. They recollect the proscriptions and 
tyranny that prevailed during the last years of General Washington 
and all M r Adams' presidency, and they tremble at the idea of their 
recurrence ; and they see that to be inevitable unless there be a differ- 
ent system, and unless the Executive pursues means to rouse the 
country to a sense of its danger. 

I sent you a little memoir in 1812, I send you a copy of it again 

— you will see that what I there suggested, was not only practicable, 
but that some part of it has since been proposed but not executed ; I 
mean the passage of the Cadaraqui and the occupation of a position cut- 
ting off the communication with Lower Canada. 

The expeditions from Detroit against Maiden — against Queenstown 

— against Fort George, against York in Upper Canada, could never at 
any time accomplish a purpose decisive of the war. It was the duty of 
this Government not to have made discursive expeditions ; the Militia 



872 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

should have maintained a defensive war and protected their frontier ; 
the regular force should have been all concentrated ; and they were not 
only fully adequate to conquer all upper Canada by one battle ; but to 
overwhelm lower Canada with the force possessed in the month of July 
last or in the month of March of the present year. The gallantry of 
Miller, Croghan and Johnson, Holmes, of Perry & Elliot, do not com- 
pensate the losses of the expeditions under Harrison and the shameful 
transactions of his command. 

The victory at York was dearly purchased by the life of Pike — but 
what did it or what could it accomplish even if he survived. 

The design against Montreal was one of the most infatuated that the 
mind of man ever conceived, whether the season, the position, the mode 
of access, the force and means possessed for the service, or the condition 
of the enemy be considered ; it was passing into a well without a ladder 
to reascend, and the enemy above to cut off all supplies or access to 
you. The shocking imbecility of Hampton at Chateauguay was alike 
disgraceful to him and the Government which under the shelter of his 
wealth suffered him to escape in contempt of all discipline — indeed 
his first appointment was a reproach to the government, since every, 
man who knew him must know that neither education nor God had 
qualified him for a military command — and it must be an implicit 
belief in the possibility of miracles which could alone sanction it. 

How can the people believe that the government was in earnest when 
such men as Morgan Lewis was made first a Quarter Master General, 
one function of which he was not fit to execute, and then a Major 
General when found unfit to be a Q r M r . 

I could go more into particulars but I have already written too much. 
The measures as now conducted will lead only to the same calamitous 
issues as last year — The force now under Gen. Izard if carried against 
Prescott on the Cadaraqui might decide the campaign by the surrender 
of all upper Canada and render all our seamen now on Ontario & Erie 
disposable on Champlain ; our force now dispersed might be concen- 
trated ; and our line of defence would be reduced to the line between 
the Cadaraqui and Sorrel, instead of from Mackinac to Champlain. 
The Indians would be quelled for want of subsistence and English 
agents ; and our forces could be in training for the opening of the 
Spring, when I expect to see a British army landed on our 
coasts. 

In reflecting on the events which are to be expected, I have con- 
ceived a project, the policy of which I will submit to you in a concise 
way ; I have no doubts or fears about its success or efficacy myself, but 
there are so many prejudices on the subject that I am well aware of 
the delicacy with which it ought to be touched ; tho 1 once carried into 
operation, it would be in my mind one of the most powerful and effec- 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 373 

tive means of public defence that could be devised by the wisdom of 
man — I shall give it on a separate sheet. 

The enemy are now establishing a depot on the extreme of Long 
Island — I do not expect that they will attempt any thing on a large 
Scale this fall unless they should attempt a Coup de Main — but I 
expect they will in the Spring be prepared with a force to shake our 
country to the centre. 

Our government could lose nothing by acting upon this principle — 
they may sacrifice every thing by acting upon any other. 

With great esteem and respect 
Your friend & Serv* 

W M DUANE 

Would it be expedient to use black troops ? 

The probability of an extensive and perhaps durable war, renders it 
important to anticipate every means by which the public safety may be 
endangered or secured. There are many who fear a rising of the 
colored people, this suggests an enquiry, — on three several points 

1. What would be the effect of the employment in war of the white 
population alone? 

2. What would be the effect on the colored population ? 

3. What would be the policy of the enemy ? 

1. Obliged to act on the defensive, the U. S. army must at all time 
consist of not less than 50000 effective men regulars. 

Militia 100,000 for short periods. 

If only one tenth of this number be diminished every year by the 
casualties of camps and war, then the annual diminuation each year 
would be 15000 men; say only 10000, as our people are more hardy 
and better adapted to endure fatigue than Europeans. 

If there be any foundation for the apprehension of revolt, then the 
danger is increased by the employment of whites alone ; while the col- 
ored men are exempted from any participation in the dangers or 
privations of war; and their relative strength will be augmented to 
excess equal to the number taken from the whites. 

It must be here observed that the hypothesis presumes the revolt 
probable ; I however do not believe it probable, without a foreign 
excitement. 

2. The relative effect on the numbers of the colored population is 
touched in a particular sense in the preceding observations. In another 
point of view it is very important. The American born blacks, even 
in the Southern states where slavery is yet suffered, feel a sentiment of 
patriotism and attachment to the U. S. Those who doubt it know very 
little of human nature and the force of habit on the human mind. 



374 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

There is nothing in the African traditions that can awaken either the 
affections of the heart or that enthusiasm which is the effect of lost or 
promised happiness or glory. Slavery is congenial to the habits of 
thinking and to the condition of the actual Africans and their imme- 
diate descendants, their past condition was no better than the present ; 
and the present condition of the descendant ten thousand cases to one 
is better than in Africa or any other country where they are numerous. 
If climate be the consideration, the descendants know it only by de- 
scription and the climates of the Southern States identify everything 
that can be desirable in Africa. Their ideas of liberty like all other 
ideas are derived from association ; and apt as they are frequently to 
desire to imitate the whites, very few of them ever rise to [so] much 
above their condition as [to] feel the sentiment of equality of rights in 
the dissimilarity of colors. I have known Africans of highly cultivated 
minds, I never found but one who was not content to be an external 
imitator of the manners and habits of white men. 

To gratify their passion for imitation to a certain extent would I 
believe secure their affections and assure the exercise of all their 
faculties. The Asiatics are by no means more intelligent than the 
Africans and their descendants in what relates to their social rela- 
tions to the whites. The Asiatics equal the hardiest and proudest and 
bravest of human species ; their valor, contempt of danger, and of pain 
and death are not to be surpassed, yet they are susceptible of the most 
rigid discipline ; so would the descendants of the Africans serve and be 
serviceable in the United States. To employ them as soldiers would 
be to save so many of the whites and if loss be to be calculated, to 
assure a proportional suffering and thereby a proportionate Security. 

To employ the blacks would be to carry against the British a force 
to them on many accounts most terrific, and to us a bond not only of 
security against the external enemy, but the best force by which the 
refractory of their own color could be kept in subjection. I need not 
point out the effect on the minds of the ignorant of any color, when one 
part is elevated into a better condition or more honored than his fel- 
lows. I do not admire the trait, I only speak of what is and what I 
fear ever will be the human character. 

3. There can be no doubt from what has been already seen in the 
waters of the Chesapeake that the enemy will endeavor to use the 
black population against us. It is the policy of the British in every 
part of the globe. They have corrupted and arrayed the Whites of N. 
Eng. against the Whites South of them — they have arrayed the white 
Protestant against the white Catholic in Ireland — they arrayed the 
blacks of St. Domingo against the Whites — they array Mahomedans 
against Hindus in India and govern seventy millions of an ingenious 
people by about forty brigades of troops enlisted out of the mass of 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 375 

the people whom they rule ; they reign with a white population of 
about 20000 military and civil scattered over a country of 2000 square 
miles in perfect security and as safe as in the midst of England. 

Their policy would not overlook our apprehensions or the resource 
which a revolt would present to them. Counteract them — defeat them 
by turning the resources upon which they calculate against them. They 
have already erected a standard and issued an invitation in the South. 
My proposition would be to embody a single brigade to establish the 
first economy and discipline of the corps, and the mildness of the East 
India companys sepoy system is exactly such as is adapted to the pur- 
pose ; they might then be augmented, one battalion of 500 men to 
every white Reg of one thousand; confining them to Infantry of the 
line, sappers and advance corps. 

I feel a perfect persuasion of the efficacy and security of such corps 
— and that to overlook or neglect to use them for military service will 
not only be a fatal blindness, but perhaps the only mode by which the 
colored population can become dangerous or injurious. 

I could enter into more detail, but the object is so important and 
novel to the mind that it is presented in this concise form to give it a 
fair opportunity for examination. 

To James Monroe. 

Phila 25 Octr 1814 
D r Sir, — M r Manuel Torres, a gentleman of South America who 
has resided here for a considerable number of years and is attached to 
our government and country, has favored me with the perusal of some 
financial views which I consider of the greatest value and worthy the 
attention of Government. I have advised him to present himself to you, 
and thro' you to the President and to the Sec ty of the Treasury ; and 
I have given him a note similar to this to Mr Giles and Mr Eppes 
and shall do the like to a few others of my friends in Congress. 

Mr Torres is a man of practical experience and his principles and 
views perfectly in the Spirit of our Government, to which I believe 
him most sincerely attached. 

I am with great respect 

Your obed Ser' 

W M DUANE. 

To Jefferson. 

Phil a 23 d Novr 1814 
Respected Sir, — I enclose you one of 12 copies of another of my 
humble efforts to give direction to the minds of Congress towards their 
danger and their salvation. 

It behoves every man to employ his whole influence and mind to 



876 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

stimulate Congress in time to provide against the Spring A mighty 
effort can be accomplished if the members of Congress can but be 
brought to perceive the danger ; and the war may be terminated before 
the middle of July by the utter expulsion of the enemy from Canada; 
any thing short of that will be doing nothing or worse. Driven out of 
that our whole disposable force would be adequate to meet the enemy 
at any point on the Seaboard. And the regular force might be if 
necessary reduced to one half. 

With the greatest respect & esteem your friend 

W M DUANE. 

Received from M r N. G. Dufief Fifteen Dollars, being so much paid 
by him on account of Thomas Jefferson late Pres* of the United States 
in account with me. 

W M DUANE 

Phil a 2 d May, 1815. 

To Jefferson. 

Phil a 9 th Jan 1817 

Respected Sir, — There is a small sum of 60 $ money paid by me 
for the translating of the continuation of Tracy's ideology ; the pressure 
of the present times alone could induce me to trespass upon you, as the 
young man the Bookseller at George Town to whom you proposed 
giving the work to be printed, intimated something like dissatisfaction 
or disapprobation on your part towards me. As I was wholly ignorant 
of any just reason I forbore, as I have been accustomed to do all my 
life, to offer no apologies for any unconscious offence ; I could not with 
propriety to myself address you now without stating the reason why I 
had not as customary in former times written to you. With unchange- 
able feelings of respect and affection, I am your friend & Ser* 

W M DUANE. 

Endorsed by Jefferson : " Acct signed John B Smyth for Wm Duane 
60. D. transl 5 paper to May 1. 16." 



To Alden Partridge} 

Phila 15th July, 1820 

My dear Sir, — Having seen your name as engaged in some Scien- 
tific pursuit near Boston I had refrained from addressing you ; but 
seeing in Nat. Intel 6 your letter of 30th June, I now write you with 
the view of ascertaining when your college will open. I have kept my 
son Edward at occasional Arithmetical exercises and historical study, 
expecting to hear of your opening. Be so good as to let me know 
without delay when you will be ready to receive students, and in the 

1 Norwich, Vermont, 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 377 

event of its being soon open what may be necessary to be done in the 
way of equipment — when it may be proper to send him and whatever 
else you may think requisite. Should the College not be likely to 
open in the present year, I must place him in some other situation so 
that he may not lose this precious period of life. 

I find that the affairs at West Point are in as much disorder as 
formerly — and that vicious man Ellicott appears to have obtained a 
fatal ascendancy thro' Scott over the present inexperienced and prag- 
matic Secretary of War. I have been applied to, to know if I would 
publish a series of Essays on the abuses there, and have answered that 
I never promise to publish any thing before I have perused it — but 
that I will always publish any duly authenticated facts of abuse of 
public trust, or perversion of a public institution, be the culprits whom 
they may — but it must be a fair open and direct investigation. 

I should like to know any particulars that may be agreeable to you 
to communicate concerning your establishment — and if there are any 
facts concerning the boundary of 45° — which may divest us of any 
territory — I am otherwise interested in it, as it possibly may deter- 
mine whether I am a Canadian or a N. Yorker. 

Accept my most sincere and affectionate respects. 



To Jefferson. 

Philadelphia, June 25, 1824 
Respected and dear Sir, — Your kind and consolatory letter of 
the 31ult. I have just received on my return from Washington city, 
where I have been since the 10 th of Feb. engaged in settling accounts of 
ten years standing and rescuing myself from the opprobrium of being 
classed among the public defaulters. I will not plague you by a reca- 
pitulation of the vexations and injuries I have suffered thro' the baleful 
system (if it may be so called, which is contrary to all principles of policy, 
equity and justice) of accountantship in the Department under which 
my affairs had to be adjusted. In short I had a charge of $9000 first 
laid against me, — reduced to $7000 — reduced to $4000, and for this 
sum a judgment was obtained against me which was all founded on tech- 
nicalities, and without regard to the facts upon the face of written and 
contemporary statement ; where my own statement of periodical account 
presenting Debit and Credit Items, I was debited on my own 
statement but no credit would be allowed upon my credit side of 
the same sheet of paper ! My appeal to Congress, however, relieved 
me from the imputation of the judgment and gave me a balance of 
about 2000 $ as a public creditor, restoring to me my reputation ; tho' 
the Judgment was the immediate cause of my selling off all of property 
that I had in 1822, and paying to the last dollar of the produce, for as 

48 



378 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

Farquhar expresses it " the scoundrel attorney " appeared to delight in 
vexatious notifications of a judgment hanging over me, and alarming 
those to whom in the way of business I had transactions of credit, such 
as the paper maker, the typefounder, and the ink maker. To avoid all 
this I resolved to sell all and begin the world anew in my 64 th year, 
and some gentlemen who had furnished supplies to the Colombians 
solicited me to visit that country to settle and obtain the amount of their 
accounts, I accepted their proposal to defray all my expenses, pay a 
weekly allowance to my wife during my absence, and allow me a com- 
mission on all I should settle in behalf of the claimants. My eldest 
daughter by my present wife was threatened with consumption and, like 
my daughter Katherine much attached to me, solicited to accompany, 
and her brother the second son of B. F. Bache, a lieutenant in the 
army desired to at u: ~ own expense — with this little family party I set 
out in Oct r 1822, and was in 15 days at La Guayra — where after 3 
days, moved to Caracas, and a residence there of 3 weeks, moved in 
Nov r for Bogota passing five great ranges and seven lesser ranges 
of the Andes, many cities and towns, and reached that Capital 3 d Feb. 
1 823 — remained there in prosecution of the business 3 months — settled 
accounts to the amount of $104,000 with the board of liquidation ; left 
Bogota by the Magdalena 27 April, reached Carthagena the 19 th May ; 
remained there at the house of WD Robinson (author of a work on 
Mexico) until embarkation 10 th June, and reached N. York on the 
auspicious 4 th July. 

An intrigue, I am sorry to say of a worthless American, deprived me 
of the benefit of my mission, other than the advantage of having my 
beloved child not only restored to health but to robust florid health by 
a journey on mules of more than 1400 miles. I had intended to have 
given some sketches of my journey to your worthy M r Randolph and 
not without a presentiment that his good lady and her father would be 
gratified — the necessity I was under of going to Washington in Feb- 
ruary interfered with this purpose, but 1 shall if no unhappy cause 
interferes pursue it. I returned from Washington only Yesterday ; 
and while there was surprized, and I must say gratified to learn from 
Col. R. M. Johnson, that you had written to the President concerning 
me. I was the more gratified because I had so long been without the 
satisfaction of an occasional line from you, as I had been sometimes 
accustomed to ; but how it came to pass that you should so write I was 
totally at a loss to conceive till your letter before me indicated. For 
as I am perhaps too proud for my condition, and was seeking some pur- 
suit fitted for me, I did not make my true situation known but to those 
who from connexion could not remain wholly unacquainted with it. 
Col. R. M. Johnson whose friendship is of an old standing and 
whose friendship ardent towards me had voluntarily sought to 



1^06.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 379 

obtain some situation for me, as I understood to be sent to Colom- 
bia or Mexico, but other arrangements had been made. Some 
others of my old friends, such as Governor D Holmes of Mississippi 
also took an interest of the same kind in my favor, and presuming upon 
your kind interference and that of others, on my being at Washington I 
had the satisfaction of a kind aud friendly interview with P l Monroe. 
I spoke to him unreservedly of my circumstances and desire to obtain 
some public employment, and suggested in consequence of the vacancy 
of an Auditorship that if the fourth which was vacant should be filled 
by M r Lee now Second Auditor, my acquaintance with Military ac- 
counts would render the Second Auditorship very suitable to my 
experience and aptitudes. This arrangement however did not take 
place and I returned home under an uncertainty : tho' before I left the 
city I was informed that one of the M r Bradley's (asst. Post 1 " Gen 1 ) 
was about to retire, and that I might probably be appointed to the 
vacant station. This however did not reach me directly, and probably 
was more the result of friendly wishes than of any known purpose. 
Should it be within your ideas of propriety to place me again before 
him, I know his dispositions to be good, but really he has been so run 
down by importunity, and so harrassed by the incidents of three Can- 
didates at a time in his immediate circle, that it is not [at] all surprizing 
that he should be embarrassed and his memory carried off from his 
wishes in matters of inferior concern, or where there is such a mass of 
importunity. 

My situation is really painful — my poor wife, accustomed to a life of 
plenty and educated in habits more elegant than prudent, could bear the 
storms of political persecution with the constancy of a Roman matron 
and be the consolation and the partner of her husband in danger ; but 
the adversity of need or dependance is not of that nature — and I fear 
that a protraction of our present condition may be fatal to her and to us 
all, her sorrows extend to her daughters, of whom we have four, the 
eldest 21, the youngest 11 — If there was a certainty of the vacancy 
above referred to and my appointment, I could console her, but I 
cannot suggest to her what may be a disappointment. The balance 
received by me was about 2000 but a great part of that was for engage- 
ments entered into by me for the public service and which I must of 
course pay away, what will remain may afford a scanty subsistence for 
three or four months, when no other resource appears to me at this 
moment open. Were I alone, a small pittance indeed would serve me 
— but it would afford me unspeakable delight if I could see her and 
my children once more in comfort & competency, and the station alluded 
to would not only effect those objects but be of many beneficial effects. 

Presuming then upon the kindness of your proffered solicitation for 
me, I request your good offices once more with the President — he is 



380 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

well disposed — but he is not aware of the necessity which alone could 
impel me to thus entreat you. 

The pamphlet arose out of a conversation with Major Clarke of Rich- 
mond, — I endeavored in conversation to remove the impressions he 
entertained and which prevailed very generally, he complained that 
he was convinced but could not recollect all my remarks and requested 
me to write them ; I felt some repugnance to appearing in the News- 
papers, but he promised to return what I should write — I wrote, 
shewed them to Judge Woodward, Col. Todd and two or three others 

— who requested copies, but agreed to pay for 50 — which I had 
printed and sent two to you — but it was discovered and I was impor- 
tuned for copies and authorised the printer to issue a few for sale in a 
second edition. I am gratified to find it meets your sentiments — No 
one will susp^t me of British attachments — but I have done justice 
to British policy where it is deserved, shewing however the motive. 

Mexico will demand much more activity in our policy than I am 
afraid there is a due estimate of. M r Edwards is not a fit man for the 
state of things there at any time — much more in the present critical 
time in that country. A country of 6,500,000 souls, with no more 
than 350,000 proprietors of soil, must leave a vast body of disposable 
people — u Take 100,000 pieces of calico and 2000 dollars" said the 
late Manuel Torres, " and a piece of calico and 2 $ each will bring 
forth 100,000 men capable of being led any where and doing good or 
evil at the absolute discretion of their paymaster." There have been 
very active intrigues in that country for several years. 

I have trespassed much on you but you '1 excuse me 

Ever yr obe' 

W M DuANE. 

On a literary subject 

I had intended to have informed you of a work I have made some 
progress in — " Sketches of Guatimala " — merely to make known to 
you that there have been some discoveries of ancient ruins in that 
country of a most interesting and curious character — for example. 

The ruins of a splendid city, have been discovered, the buildings in 
which were of hewn stone and in a peculiar but chaste style of archi- 
tecture. In. one of those cities (for there are several) there has been 
found a structure of very considerable extent — jive stories high — these 
buildings have cornices and architraves of delicately wrought mouldings 

— and by incidents discoverable in the distribution of .the apartments, 
the various domestic offices and chambers are recognizable. But this is 
not all the wonder, there are bas and alto relievos of exquisite design, 
and of which the anatomical expression and symmetry of figure will 
bear comparison for correctness of taste and fidelity to nature, with any 
thing produced by the Grecian sculptors. One of those cities is 7 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 381 

leagues in circumference — I have been speaking to the lithographer 
here about executing the drawings — but shall be unable to conclude 
with him — thro' the same necessity which compels me to look for a 
public office. 

I begun the work when I became possessed of those and other 
materials, and with the access to the valuable Spanish library of R. W. 
Meade, Esq I am able to master the early history. The commercial 
history is but little known and the political less ; as the two Viceroyal- 
ties of Mexico and N. Granada, had always combined to prevent the 
growth of Guatimala into consequence ; so that it was better known 
under the rule of Cortes and his lieutenants, than during the last 
century. You must remember that Guatimala supplied Europe with 
Indigo — and that the success of the Indigo cultivation in the Carolinas 
rose upon the depression of Guatimala — tho 7 in our America that 
cause was not so well known ; and that the trade of Carolina in Indigo 
was undermined by the French in Bengal, before Cotton came in to 
extinguish indigo as one of N. American staples, but Caracas is now, 
and Guatimala will before five years supplant Asia, and resume its 
former and merited preeminence in indigo ; and in many other 
branches not generally suspected at this time. To the U States 
Guatimala is more important for commercial purposes than all the 
rest of Spanish America. 

To Jefferson. 

Washington, 19 October, 1824 

Respected and dear Sir, — I denied myself the pleasure of reply- 
ing to your kind letter in answer to mine concerning the Pamphlet on 
"The two Americas" from an apprehension that you were already 
too much troubled by correspondence ; the same motive would operate 
now did not an unutterable necessity induce me to the trespass as a 
refuge from despair. 

The death of Samuel Clarke, the Naval officer of the Customs at 
Philadelphia died on Saturday last, and I arrived here this day to 
solicit the station. I addressed a letter to the President, as he had 
authorised me to do, which reached him yesterday, and it was too late 
on my arrival to wait upon him. But the letter was handed to him by 
M r Lee under cover to whom he desired I should write. 

I am apprehensive that interests more active than mine in Phil a will 
prevail against me, unless your goodness should see it fit to interfere 
once more in my behalf with the President. . I am thus apprehensive 
because when I had an interview in May last, and tendered several 
papers containing signatures of respectable Citizens of Phil a and mem- 
bers of both chambers of Congress here, the President was so good as 
to say that they were not necessary. Therefore I brought none now. 



382 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

But the President now has said that I must obtain signatures for this 
special office. 

Here then am I involved in a double dilemma if I may so express 
it — There are several persons who have neither my experience nor 
any claims on the Score of service, but who have less scruples to seek 
signatures — and may seek them where I should not ; again if it were 
required that I should return to obtain signatures my friends may be 
preoccupied ; and if I were to go — travelling with the utmost economy 
I should reach my family with not more than $3 — and I should find 
them with not much more — as after paying my debts and subsistence 
out of what I received here last winter — I had only 50 $ left. Such 
are the strange vicissitudes of life ; and it is in such circumstances that 
I was taken up as the Candidate of the Old Republicans in the recent 
Election fepij Members of Congress. 

No man in the Union stands better in moral and mental estimation 
than I do with men of all parties in Phil a , and it must be a consolation 
after nearly 30 years before the public that my son and myself should 
hold the place of preference among those who adhere to the principles 
of 1776 & 1800. But altho a Republic now means something, the rights 
of man is no longer a paradox and Democratic government is no longer 
Jacobinism ; and those who formerly reprobated now use the language 
and profess the doctrine they reviled twenty four years ago ; they do 
not thank those who aided in reforming their modes of speech ; and as 
I was an idle spectator in the transactions which produced this revolu- 
tion in speech, the very same men opposed me on this occasion who 
were opposed to you at that period and since. They do justice to my 
social character, but tho they profess to be all Republicans, all Feder- 
alists — they are not forgetful that I had shared in their conversion, 

I had however a larger vote than M r Swanwick, M r M'Clenahan, 
capt W. Jones, or Jo. Clay — as two of the most populous and repub- 
lican wards of the city in former times voted for those citizens, but are 
now attached to the District of Southwark. It is true a great number 
of the leading republicans of that period have passed away, but this 
shews that the principles of the Jefferson school has had in new gener- 
ation successors of the same principles. It is a subject that I have 
never heard appreciated as it merits, that is, the effect of these princi- 
ples gaining the ascendancy, for altho' the votes now are given in the 
same way as 20 years ago, the fundamental principles are no longer 
disputed nor reviled and the rising generation will receive them uncon- 
taminated. It was to me a subject of peculiar interest to mark the 
contrast between the conduct of the same persons 24 years ago and on 
the recent reception of the virtuous La Fayette ; at the former period 
I have known the license to be taken away from the old established 
tavern the Dean's Head, for no other trespass than permitting the Mar- 



1906.] 



LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 383 



seilles hymn to be sung in the House — and yet it was the very same 
man that took away the license, that ordered the Marseilles Hymn to 
be performed upon the entre of La Fayette ! 

I fear my feelings have induced me to trespass on you more than was 
necessary ; but I have been too many years accustomed to be affected 
in this way to be able to govern my feelings now — or to deny myself 
the gratification of such recollections. 

I shall therefore not trespass on you further than to entreat — and I 
have never importuned you — may I now without wounding your good- 
ness — entreat you to act in my favor in obtaining the station of Naval 
Officer in the place of M r Clarke deceased. My wife and her four 
daughters look with melancholy anxiety to my visit here — a failure 
would leave us utterly destitute. With that station, $2500 a year, I 
could occupy my leisure in finishing three or four works that must 
perish, if I should be abandoned now. 

With the utmost affection and respect 

Your friend & Ser* 

W M Duane 

To Jefferson. 

Phil a 8 Nov* 1824 

Respected and dear Sir, — That condition of humanity which 
supersedes all law is the apology which I offer for trespassing upon (you) 
again. I took the liberty of writing to you from Washington a few 
weeks ago, soliciting your good offices with the President in my behalf 
for an appointment to the vacant station of Naval Officer at this post. 

The President is returned to the Seat of Government and the appli- 
cations are very numerous, not less than fourteen, and interests are put 
in motion which I fear may prove too powerful for me, who during 
twenty six years made the public interest my sole concern and sacrific- 
ing all considerations, danger of life for five years of the first struggle — 
and devotion to public principles and public utility with an earnestness 
that contemplated its own good only in that of the public. 

I need not speak of these things because you have constantly rendered 
justice to me, even when you could not suspect I should ever hear of 
the kindness with which you spoke. But on an occasion which is so 
every way serious to me as the only prospect which presents itself to 
rescue me, my wife, and four young females from absolute want — I am 
sure you will excuse me for iterating the circumstances on which I 
solicit your interference. 

The President had repeatedly declared, as I was informed by the late 
Manuel Torres of Columbia, that "no man who had risen since the 
Revolution, had rendered such effective services as Col Duane " — yet 
his situation is no doubt a difficult one ; and if what I have done for the 



384 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

public were not such as would place me before any man who is an 
applicant on principles of justice I should have contented myself with 
placing my name before him. 

I believe that my services in the critical period of the war (which I 
believe you will remember I long foresaw to be inevitable,) were of 
much greater moment to the Country than I have ever had justice 
done me in any acknowledgment. Yet it is a fact that by the sacri- 
fices and labors which I then rendered, the knowledge of Military 
Affairs were more effectually and rapidly diffused thro' this nation 
than has ever occurred in a like space of time in any other nation yet 
— and it is not to complain — because this is not the time if I were 
disposed — yet I suffered even the honor which I earned, and the loss 
of all my expenditures and labors to be torn from me, without uttering 
a public murmur — - tho' the measure towards me was a shocking act of 
injustice and injury — while the public was actually injured by the 
measures pursued to injure me — I was sacrificed to an intrigue in the 
army and the combined influence of those who while they professed to 
be the friends of the men in power never forgave me the part I took 
in producing the change. Having produced a revolution in military 
discipline — and my works being adopted by the Government, had this 
combination not succeeded those works would have afforded to my 
children a handsome income. Under the course I experienced, I was 
literally ruined — but I suffered in silence. 

I need not draw any inference — but it is in the President's power 
to cure all my evils past and future — There is not a candidate opposed 
to me who has not a respectable income. Capt. W. Jones who is the 
principal opponent has $2500 a year as President of an Insurance 
Company — and he has not a child to depend on him. He has held 
many offices of high trust — but when my life was daily exposed almost 
alone, he was not to be found in our ranks. 

Major Jackson who held the station before, and whose conduct and 
merits have not bettered since, has his wife's fortune. 

My Wife's fortune was sunk in the public cause — and she remains 
with four daughters a melancholy example of virtuous generosity and 
voluntary sacrifice. I am always 

Your obed 1 Ser 1 

W m DUANE 

To William Lee. 

18 Nov 1824 

My dear Lee, — The state in which I am placed must be my 
apology for not answering your two last before this time. My poor 
Wife driven by insupportable affliction has been confined to her bed for 
a week — and my poor girls appear sinking under the force of those 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 385 

distresses which hitherto I have endeavored to confine to my own 
breast, but which now overcome me and them. This day I endeavored 
to borrow some money to lengthen out this state of misery which anxiety 
and hopelessness barely tolerates — My son being absent in the interior 
since his return from Washington — I could obtain — only ^ th of a 
Dollar! ! In such a state of affliction — I endeavored nevertheless to 
find the pamphlet you mentioned — but I have not been successful ; 
There has been a great wreck of books and booksellers for several 
years, and it was mentioned to me, that some money and industry had 
been perceptibly employed in buying up the political productions of 
several years back ; I examined several of the second hand book stores, 
but could not find any publications of that description, tho' I was 
anxious to procure what was wanted by D r Cutting if possible — My 
state of mind and feeling is such that I am incapable of any effort of 
memory — and am much more disposed to go to sleep — and sleep for 
ever, than to dig up recollections which at every step would only bring 
me to compare what I have done and what I am suffering. 

It would have been more magnanimous and charitable in the Presi- 
dent to have said to me or told some one to tell me, he set no value 
•upon my former services — that my sacrifices were not entitled to 
thanks — that he would not give me any public employment — than to 
leave me in this state of uncertainty and wretchedness — Had he'done 
so, I might have had a newspaper that was tendered to me, at a season 
too when I was not so much broken down in my family and feelings as 
I now am, and to which after all, with all my detestation of the pursuit, 
I fear I must resort under circumstances less propitious — I dread it, 
because I write upon the heat of the mind, and when my heart throbs 
with agony and resentment and sense of injury I apprehend because 1 
cannot control honest and indignant truth — I cannot simulate and 
hence anticipate — what I should do and how I should direct discussion 
if once embarked. 

I have not been out of doors for the last week, but when I went out 
to borrow — and know nothing of what is going on — 

My son returned on Monday — -as he went — and as I anticipated — 
in fact I have given up all hope. Since Tho s Jefferson's recommenda- 
tion proves to be disregarded. You say that you have hopes yet — But 
you must know that if there was an earnest desire or intention to 
confer the office on me he would at once do it, and that he is in the 
habit of making appointments without any consultation — and that 
if he wished to do it he could do it without the least interference or 
inconvenience. 

If it should happen as you say you expect in what refers to yourself 
— you need not have said a word on that subject to me as my mind is 
not indifferent to your generous efforts for my good — I am not liable 

49 



386 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY. [May, 

to be so much cast down as I am now — but it is not for my individual 
self I suffer. 

Yrs ever W D 



To Jefferson} 

Philadelphia, 20 June, 1826 

Respected Sir, — I do myself the satisfaction of sending a copy of 
my book. I think I should hardly have ventured to put it forth had 
not your opinion on the matter of a letter addressed to Col. Randolph 
induced me, instead of continuing to write him as I had proposed to 
do, put it into the form of a book. I cannot anticipate whether it is 
well or ill done, or whether it is dull or interesting. I think that 
Sterne's idea of the temper with which a man goes to see a play, is 
equally good in going to see real life. I have endeavored not to tread 
in other men's tracks, and to relate honestly what I saw or knew to 
be true. The book is 132 pages larger than I had proposed to make 
it, yet eleven chapters written are still omitted ; and I could make 
another volume, as I proposed treating more circumstantially of the 
government, the congress, their monstrous jurisprudence, their desire as 
well as the absolute necessity of a federative, instead of a central govern- 
ment, their money, their lands, the remnants of Spanish abuses, and 
despotic immorality, smuggling, the Isthmus of Panama, you will see 
in my preface that I have made propositions to affect that long talked 
of Strait of Panama. The house of Goldsmidt, principally he who 
lately died, was to be my back, along with a House at Rotterdam 
and another house at London. The public men, excepting Pedro 
Gual, Sec* of State, and Soublette, Secy of War, are not men of busi- 
ness as business is done with us. They are, however, compared with 
the Spaniards prodigious men. Restrepo of the Interior is just such a 
man as you would like, enlightened, learned without the least pedantry, 
liberal to your whole measure, and above the common passions which 
despotism is apt to nourish and to create. The Sec ry of the Treasury, 
Castillo, is a rhetorician, and there they want a man of faculty the 
most. He asked my opinion on the best mode of finance, and he was 
surprised when I told him " make roads, and leave systems till you have 
something to make systems of. " But he was determined to have a 
system, and thus far, the search of system has left them without 
revenue, and 40,000,000 in debt. The real war debt did not amount 
to 10,000,000$ — it was ascertained when I was at Bogota. They 
have a passionate desire to imitate the U S. — only where some habit 
has rendered it convenient not to follow it too closely. The trial by 
jury and the freedom of the press they adore — if you believe them, 

i Jeff. MSS. 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 387 

but are utterly uninformed of the spirit and nature of the former as 
well as of the latter. I witnessed some very curious transactions in 
relation to both. 

You will see that I have found a plant (Erica) which Humboldt and 
other naturalists say is not to be found in the new world. 

The ideas of Humboldt on the native tribes I cannot concur in any 
more than D* Robertson's, who identifies them from Greenland to 
Patagonia. I found them cheerful amiable, laborious, hardy, carrying 
heavy burdens such as a London Porter would growl under : there are 
some of the race with long jaw bones and large nostrils ; but the races 
generally are oval faced and in symmetry of structure equal to the 
Circassians, male and female. They abhor drunkenness. The only 
man I saw drunk in the country was a mulatto at a place called 
E-nimawn [?] 

Excuse this hasty note. 

Most affectionately yours. 



To Joseph Watson. 1 

24 July, 1827 

Dr Sir, — The cistern and pump for Schuylkill water on the west 
side of Sixth opposite Powell Street, are in a state which requires the 
attention of the proper authorities. In the severe frosts and thaws of 
February last, the neighborhood who drew water from that pump daily 
teazed me, supposing that as a magistrate I had power to cause the 
evil to be corrected. 

I addressed a note to Clerk, which was not even taken out of the 
Post office, and I waited myself on Mr. Rush ; and Mr. Ramage who 
owns property applied also in consequence of representations made to 
him — 

The pavement contiguous to this pump is bad, unequal and small 
stagnant pools remain which filtre into the cistern, and renders the 
Schuylkill water foul and fetid — the neighborhood is composed of poor 
people who have neither property nor servants ; and it appears to me 
that the use of such water is likely to produce disease. 

The cistern was opened three or four days ago and several buckets 
of filth, more like the feculence of a necessary, were thrown out, the 
filth was such that the labourer was under the necessity of carrying the 
bucket to another pump to wash it. 

I am thus particular that the absolute necessity of attention to the 
case may be seen. 

It appears to me that the filthy state of the Cistern requires an 
entire new one — and that in order to prevent the drains of the foul 

1 Mayor of Philadelphia. Duane was at this time an alderman. 



388 MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SC-CIETY. [May, 

gutters into the cistern the pavement should be so repaired as that no 
pools as at present may remain. 

I am Sir, with Great Respect 

Your obed Ser* W M Duane 

No 160 S. Sixth Street Corner of Elizabeth S. 



To John Henry Eaton. 

Phil a 25* h Jan. 1830. 

Dr Sir, — It was not my intention to trouble you with my notions 
on the concurrent preparations for events in Canada and elsewhere, 
conceiving that the mere outline of opinions urged are of themselves 
sufficient at least to induce a coustant and careful use of eye and ear in 
relation to the topics themselves. The speech of Col. Benton on the 
13 th inst. has, however, afforded matter to strengthen my preexisting 
opinions, but recalled to my mind an annecdote which I will give you 
at once verbatim from a note made at the time I received it from Mr 
Torres the then minister of Columbia; I find that in the hurry I did 
not date it, a neglect not very usual with me, however the events give 
their own date. 

The negociations for the acquisition of Florida were conducted on 
our part by J. Q. Adams, who tho' aided by all the Documentary mat- 
ter collected by Mr Jefferson in the Department committed a variety 
of blunders — if not worse. The Spanish negociator had not enough of 
confidence in his own knowledge to discuss the subject to his own satis- 
faction, and consulted the French minister Hyde de Neufville, who 
became the supplean of the sick Spaniard. In the progress of the dis- 
cussion the supplean affected much ignorance, tho' it is well known he 
was possessed of the ample Documents of the celebrated Count de 
Vergennes on Louisiana and Florida, and the best existing maps of 
those regions. The question of navigating the Mississippi was intro- 
duced gently at first, and finally the supplean affecting great indifference 
requested Mr Adams himself to describe on the map how far the navi- 
gation would be admitted. Mr Adams drew a line commencing at the 
debouch of the Mississippi and ascending upwards was to embrace the 
mouth of the Arkansas, of course comprehending the Red River ; De 
Neufville expressed a cold sort of satisfaction and the treaty thus formed 
was signed by the two negociators. 

Having gained his point De Neufville hastened to the Spanish 
minister, and exulted explicitly in having accomplished the object and 
duping the American negociator The Spanish minister suddenly 
recovered his health and called on President Monroe, pressing him to 
complete it by his signature. The treaty had not yet been presented 
for signature but it was called for, and Mr. Monroe on its perusal 



1906.] LETTERS OF WILLIAM DUANE. 

absolutely refused to sign it — and is said to have expressed himself 
with bitter indignation that the point of all others upon which he was 
most proud of having effected, that of nationalizing the Mississippi, was 
here thro' ignorance, indifference, or design abandoned, and an attempt 
made to afford the British access under the Spanish flag to our interior